By Kate McCormick
The October 26 confirmation of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) left many Americans criticizing the integrity of the Republican Party and Senate, questioning Barrett’s qualifications and anxious over the future of specific liberties in the U.S. Though this decision came just a mere eight days before Election Day, millions of Americans had already made their voices heard utilizing early and absentee voting amid a global pandemic.
The rushed confirmation of Barrett with a monumental election already underway is unprecedented and in direct contradiction to the Republican stance taken in the last election year: In response to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the 2016 Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that “the American people should have a say in the court’s direction,” and the Senate refused to vote on the nomination, citing that it came too close to an election.
Regardless of the partisan reaction at the time of decision, a precedent was set, and now, four years later, it has been repudiated.
Not only has the process of this confirmation come under fire, but the conversation surrounding Barrett’s experience and rectitude to serve on the highest court is gravely disconcerting.
Reported by Mother Jones, Barrett, a former law professor, had virtually no experience practicing law until her 2017 nomination to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and brought only 1,800 pages of material to her SCOTUS confirmation hearing — a measly juxtaposition to documents provided by other judges.
This comparison includes 75,000 pages from Chief Justice John Roberts, 180,000 from Justice Neil Gorsuch and over one million pieces of documentation from Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s infamous 2018 hearing.
The New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) expressed reservations toward Barrett’s nomination, stating that they have “significant concerns” regarding evaluative criteria, including, but not limited to, “maturity of judgement,” “unquestionable integrity and independence” and “a sympathetic understanding of the Court’s role under the Constitution in the protection of the personal rights of individuals.”
These reservations come from the NYCBA following Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing, in which she refused to legitimize climate change, an accepted science, as well as expressing an “open hostility to the Court’s long-settled individual-rights precedents.”
This accusation is evident in her omission of Loving v. Virginia, Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade as super precedents, or longstanding Supreme Court decisions that “no serious person would propose to undo even if they are wrong,” in her academic writings.
At only 48 years old, Amy Coney Barrett has just been confirmed to a position for life and her vapid inexperience serves as a mockery of the sanctity of the Supreme Court.
Citizens across the country are worried for the sake of their rights in any future SCOTUS rulings, resultant of Barrett’s confirmation pushing the court to sit at a 6-3 conservative majority.
The aforementioned failure to consider landmark decisions pertaining to marriage rights and reproductive privacy as super precedents has rightfully caused concern throughout the population. Barrett’s seat on the Supreme Court is a direct threat to reproductive freedoms in the U.S., and according to Planned Parenthood there are 17 abortion-related cases close to heading toward the Supreme Court.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has also been under fire by conservatives, and now Barrett’s confirmation solidifies her seat in time for the Nov.10 SCOTUS hearing that could determine its fate.
Partisanship aside, it is undeniable that Barrett’s confirmation was aberrant and wrongly rushed through Senate hearings. The hypocrisy of the Republican Senate in filling the SCOTUS seat after millions of Americans had already voted, compared to their 2016 ruling, is not only a flagrant abuse of power but an insult to the process.
United States citizens are absolutely warranted to the outrage and anxiety they are feeling due to this decision, especially as it comes on the heels of a monumental election.