Rushed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett hurts American people


Image obtained via The White House on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Shruthi Manimaran, Managing Editor

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has opened up the swamp for all to see.

Instead of mourning the death of a trailblazing feminist who changed the lives of millions of women in America, President Donald Trump went directly against her last wish and nominated a new judge to replace her.

Within nearly a week of Justice Ginsburg’s death, Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. 

The hypocrisy Trump and Republican congressmen have shown in the last two weeks cemented the fact that they will stop at nothing to advance their agenda, even if it hurts the American people.

During former President Obama’s second term, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, so he nominated Merrick Garland, a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals, to replace Scalia’s seat. 

Republicans, led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, refused to even have a hearing for Garland because they believed nominating a new judge eight months before an election was unfair.

To fill the seat 8 days before the election is going against the precedent [Trump’s] own party wanted to establish,” senior Lily Can said.

Yet here we are in 2020. 

Thousands of people have already broken 2016 voting records by casting mail-in ballots or voting in person. But Republicans in the Senate ignored this and set Barrett’s confirmation hearing for last week. On Thursday, despite a boycott from the Democrats, the Senate Judiciary Committee moved Barrett’s confirmation to a full Senate vote. She was confirmed on Monday with a mostly partisan vote of 52-48. 

Although the Supreme Court is designed to be non-partisan, it has always been a partisan institution. The branch was supposed to be removed from public opinion, which is why justices are not elected and serve for life,” history teacher Amanda Williams said. “It is also designed to reflect the will of the people in that justices have to be approved by an elected president and elected senators.”

The election is in less than a week, and America might have a completely different president and Senate. If Joe Biden wins and the Senate flips to a Democrat majority, then Barrett’s confirmation as a Supreme Court judge will be a clear contradiction to what the American people want.

“I think Republican congressmen attempting to secure the conservative majority in the Supreme Court are selfish,” Can said. “If they wanted to advocate on behalf of the people, they would wait until the election results are clear.”

Barrett’s record follows the conservatism of her former mentor, former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump has vowed to nominate someone who will follow the values held by his party, including overturning the Affordable Care Act, which would lead to nearly 20 million people losing their health insurance and no guarantee to protect pre-existing conditions. Additionally, landmark decisions on a woman’s right to choose and immigration laws could very possibly be ruled in favor of the right.

These rulings will impact Americans for the rest of their lives and have major consequences for the most vulnerable in our population. Americans deserve the right to decide what choices are made about their livelihoods.