Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation could mean the end of Americans’ rights

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Donald Trump nominates then Judge Amy Coney Barrett on September 26, 2020 in the White House Rose Garden to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant Supreme Court Seat.

Maria Alba-Herrera, Opinion Writer

Following the death of the famous liberal icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Trump and the Republican party desperately pushed now Justice Amy Coney Barett through her confirmation. The Senate hearings and her past decisions reveal much about Barrett’s extremely conservative stances on controversial topics from gun control to women’s reproductive rights. Many of her right-wing, originalist opinions leave many citizens validly concerned about their rights in the future.

Multiple groups of marginalized people have attempted for decades to gain basic human rights and representation. Many people within these communities fear that the milestones they have achieved will be set back if Amy Coney Barrett cannot set aside her personal views and judge solely based on the law. 

Having a woman in a position of power is not inherently a good thing, especially when they use their influence to deprive other women of their rights. She has stated that she doesn’t think that judges should be bound by precedents, creating the possibility that her vote would overturn Roe v. Wade. Sophomore Lydia Yeh said, “she is using doors that other women have opened for her, and other opportunities that other women gave her to shut doors for other women…she should be fighting for our rights.” In the past, Barrett used her place on a court to restrict the ability of women to get an abortion unless certain conditions are met rather than expand abortion rights. 

On the topic of gun rights, Justice Barrett dissented in a case that prohibited convicted felons from being allowed to own guns, if their crime was not violent. Chemistry teacher Akshay Gandhi said, “There shouldn’t be a blanket statement or law, but more of a case by case scenario. There are different degrees of non-violent crimes that could warrant allowing someone to have a deadly weapon or not.” In June of this year, the Supreme Court rejected about 10 appeals relating to the second amendment. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that, if Justice Barrett is confirmed, the SCOTUS will be hearing many more cases in regards to the second amendment.

 More concerning than her views on gun control, however, were her responses to questions during her confirmation hearings where she provided a plethora of vague answers. Justice Barret refused to accept that climate change was a scientific fact, saying instead that it was a “very contentious matter of public debate.” She also referred to gay people as having “sexual preferences” instead of orientations. There is no doubt that Barrett will side with the other conservative judges in terms of gay rights, and put people’s bigoted religious beliefs above the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

In addition to her viewpoints, one of the most alarming issues regarding Barrett’s nomination is the gross hypocrisy demonstrated by Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate. In 2016, the Senate blocked the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland 8 months before the election saying that it was too close to a presidential election. However, they were desperate to confirm Justice Barrett less than a month before the upcoming 2020 election when more than a million Americans have already voted. Government teacher William Vicari said, “Mitch McConnell made a complete partisan power grab, and had no constitutional grounds to do what he did.” McConnell and the rest of the Republican Senate should have respected the precedent they set four years ago. 

Justice Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court will leave many Americans in fear for the future of the country and their rights. Having another devout originalist justice will undoubtedly have a drastic impact on our future and the lives of the American people, specifically those within marginalized communities. That, in combination with the blatant hypocrisy of the Republican Senate, leaves many wondering how our government can do what’s best for the American people when the people in it are so focused on pushing their selfish agendas.