On September 18, long-time Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg died after a very long battle with cancer. Around the country, and the world, people grieved and felt the deep shock her vacancy left. Before the news had even settled, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his plans to push through a new nominee.
While many people thought there wasn’t nearly enough time before the election to find and confirm a justice, President Trump announced his plans for Amy Coney Barrett, a constitutional fundamentalist, to replace Ginsburg. This politically charged and dishonorable display of power is not only disrespectful to Ginsburg’s last wish, but also challenges precedent set by Congress and the Court.
Back in 2016, when President Obama had a court vacancy, Senator McConnell blocked any possible attempt to nominate a new judge. He felt that, since an election was nine months away, hearings should wait until the American people select a new president. At the time of Ginsburg’s death, the election was less than two months away, and McConnell seemed to have no recollection of the terms he had set four years prior.
“The process for confirming Amy Coney Barrett was quick compared to recent standards, but Sandra Day O’ Connor was confirmed in 33 days,” said Mr. Giess, a Government and Politics teacher. Mr. Giess believes we may be in for some surprising outcomes from this court, despite the conservative makeup.
“After all, who would have predicted a John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, saving the [Affordable Care Act]?” said Giess. Still, he was, like so many other Americans, shocked and saddened by Ginsburg’s passing.
This appointment moves the court extremely to the right. Barrett is a fundamentalist, meaning she believes that the only guaranteed rights are those specifically written out in the Constitution. This would lend to the belief that she would not protect abortion rights, which many women rely on. She is also a staunch supporter of the second amendment (and convicted felons obtaining guns), and a serious threat to LGBTQ rights. She also supports groups that want to make IVF illegal. Basically, she allows her religious beliefs to control her decision making.
Jasmine Upchurch is an organizer with the club MakeIt100, a group that helps teenagers register to vote. “While Ginsburg seemed to work for the people, Barrett seems to want to work for the narrow extent of her political allies,” Upchurch said.
Upchurch admitted that she did not know every single one of Barrett’s policies, but feared her ideals would strip away all that Ginsburg had accomplished. Upchurch took a very civil side to this debate, saying “I hesitate to fault anyone; assigning blame stirs a conflict that only becomes harder to resolve.”
While Jasmine was very bipartisan in assigning blame, Senate Democrats have been strongly blaming Republicans for weeks now. They deserve it. Ginsburg’s last wish was for the next elected president to fill her seat, and McConnell completely ignored that. They have rushed their nominee through hearings- hearings where she forgot one of the five rights in the First Amendment. The hypocrisy from senators such as Lindsay Graham and McConnell is unmatched. They set the rules back in 2016, they should be following them now.
In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will hear several important cases, including one on The Affordable Care Act. With Barrett on the court, the chances of the ACA being overturned are much higher than they were in September. Soon, we will see if the fears of many will become the sad reality.
sources: nytimes.com, usatoday.com, cnbc.com