The Newest Supreme Court Justice
With a vote of 52-48, the Supreme Court has decided in favor of Amy Coney Barrett, making her the newest justice on the United States Supreme Court. She was sworn in on October 26, 2020 by fellow Justice Clarence Thomas at the South Lawn of the White House. Following the tragic passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ginsburg on the bench. At 48, Barrett is a reliable conservative American lawyer, former professor at Notre Dame Law School and previously served on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. She now sits as Associate Justice, making her the 115th justice and the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court.
Her induction has created a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, creating a wave of controversy regarding political issues in the U.S. Many believe that the future of the Affordable Care Act, women’s productive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and immigration rights are at risk, seeing that Barrett is particularly conservative on civil rights issues. Barrett is against the ACA, which provides affordable healthcare to all Americans, especially those with preexisting conditions. If it were overturned, 20 million Americans could lose their healthcare. It has been found that Barrett’s views differ greatly from former Justice RBG’s, whose entire career focused on eliminating gender-based stereotypes while strongly advocating for women's and minorities’ rights. In comparison, Barrett has been criticized for being a member of an anti-abortion group and speaking against birth control. In a 1998 Notre Dame Law School article, Barrett stated that “terminating a pregnancy is always immoral,” and has also justified overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalizes the right to an abortion in the United States. This puts many women’s rights at risk, as a conservative justice with these views could make decisions that could ban or limit access to birth control and abortions. Justice Barrett could also provide the deciding vote for reversing Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 supreme court decision protecting same-sex marriage, endangering the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Why was she sworn into the Supreme Court? Countless Americans believe that it was originally risky to let a President that is nearing the end of their term decide the fate of the Supreme Court, since this decision is binding and she will serve for life. Throughout history, most presidents have been denied the ability to appoint a Justice this close to the election, leading many Americans to believe that Trump should not have been an exception. For example, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, President Barack Obama attempted to appoint Merrick Garland to fill his spot, but was denied. The Senate refused to allow Obama to nominate Garland, stating that “it was too close to the election.” In comparison, Justice Ginsburg died in September 2020 and Trump's nomination of Barret was approved by the Senate, only two months before the 2020 Presidential election. Yet Obama was refused this nomination when there were still nine months until the 2016 Presidential, so why did the Senate approve Trump’s nomination but not Obama’s? This process was clearly flawed and rushed, but the decision is final. Amy Coney Barrett has already taken her seat on the bench and will serve for life on the Supreme Court. So what will the future of Healthcare, women’s productive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and immigration rights look like now?