Opinion: Amy Coney Barrett’s Appointment Should Terrify You

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By Eunho Jung, Staff Writer

The United States Senate voted to appoint Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on October 29, 2020, a move just days before the Presidential election and one that will change the court for generations to come adding one more conservative to the panel of five conservatives and three liberal justices.

Barrett was sworn in shortly thereafter by President Donald J. Trump, who nominated her within days of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing.  Barrett was formerly a conservative judge sitting on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

With the Republican majority led by Mitch McConnell in the Senate, her nomination drew bitter criticism from Senate democrats. The Republican majority has made it quite clear where their interests lie. They rush forth a nomination to the Supreme Court, yet, will not pass a stimulus check helping millions of unemployed Americans in the middle of a global crisis. Many question the Senate’s failure to appoint Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Antonin Scalia, who died in February of 2016. Senate Republicans at that time claimed the appointment was too close to the election.

Barrett’s appointment, many liberals believe, calls into question landmark cases that protect a woman’s right to choose, affordable healthcare, and protection for LGBTQIA+ groups. Her appointment should terrify Americans.

In her early life, Barrett studied law at Notre Dame University. She was a top student and later returned to become a distinguished professor at her alma mater. It is safe to say she has an extensive understanding of the tenets of the Constitution. However, her religious affiliations with the tight-knit Catholic group, the People of Praise, raise some massive red-flags. The group, located in South-Bend, Louisiana, rejects openly gay men and women as most conservative groups do. Moreover, the group’s female leaders are referred to as “handmaids.” This discovery cited protestors to dress as handmaids from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel: The Handmaid’s Tale. However, the People of Praise did not inspire the book, contrary to what the media spewed. It is not her religious background that is being scrutinized; it is the religious background that will most likely influence her rulings as a judge on the highest Court of the United States. 

Based on her career as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court, it is clear she is a staunch conservative, pro-life, and anti-LGBTQIA+. Barrett has used the term “sexual preferences” to describe those in the LGBTIA+ community multiple times. If you are still not aware, it has been proved by scientists and psychologists that sexual attraction is not a choice. In 2015, the Supreme Court declared gay marriage was made the law of the land in Obergefell v. Hodges. This guaranteed right may very well be overturned with the conservative majority sitting on the Supreme Court. Barrett’s pro-life stance quite obviously comes from her religion; she has a long record of opposing abortion. In 2006, she signed a statement in a newspaper advertisement opposing “abortion on demand.” However, her past records need no further search; President Trump has firmly made it clear he will be appointing pro-life judges to the Court. Roe v. Wade is at risk. Yet another woman is ripping away a woman’s right to choose. Let it be known that banning abortion does not prohibit it completely; it just bans safely performed abortions. This puts millions of women into preventable danger. Her pro-life stance does not value life. It simply allows her to control women and what they choose to do with their bodies. 

Furthermore, the Black Lives Matter movement came to the headlines and all across the country this past summer. But, Barrett’s rulings regarding criminal justice are what seems to be the problem. In Shanika Day v. Franklin Wooten, Barrett ruled the police officers who let a black teenager die in their custody- after he told them, he could not breathe- had qualified immunity from a civil suit. This is all too similar to what we saw on May 25th: the death of George Floyd. Barrett continued to side with the police in 86 percent of the court cases she was presented. This provides an obvious idea of what we will see when she becomes the next justice. 

All the progress that her predecessor Ruth Bader Ginsburg made will be wiped clean by  Barrett. Ironically, without the legacy of RBG, Barrett would not have risen to her status as a powerful female judge. Many people assume feminism to be a strong, successful woman, but this is incorrect. Feminism uses that place of power and status to help women rather than strip away their rights.  Our best hope is to flip the Senate on election day to prevent any more conservative judges from sitting on the Court.