BREAKING: Amy Coney Barrett Is Sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice 8 Days Before the 2020 Election
Updated: Sep 30
A little over a month after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away from complications with pancreatic cancer and eight days away from the 2020 presidential election, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in today, October 26, as the ninth justice.
She was confirmed by 52 votes to 48 in the Senate after four days of hearings. Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Collins (R-Maine) both stated that they would not support efforts to confirm a supreme court pick before the presidential election. Senator Murkowiski voted for confirming Barrett. Senator Collins, Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and all other Democratic senators voted against her. The Supreme Court now comprises three liberal judges and six conservative judges.
This now right-leaning court will make a majority of the decisions in the following decades, shaping American politics and law. These decisions will affect several key political issues: reproductive rights, gay marriage, and healthcare. The Supreme Court is expected to hear a case in November regarding the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. It is probable that with this Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act will rapidly change.
Barrett previously clerked for late Justice Anton Scalia, whom she called “the staunchest conservative” on the court at the time. Like Scalia, she considers herself as an ‘originalist’. Originalists maintain a vision that judges should interpret the words of the Constitution as the authors originally intended them. Originalism has been denounced as discriminatory especially to women, PoC, and LGBTQ+ people, especially by liberals and progressives. This denouncement stems from the authors of the Constitution being white and wealthy men who owned slaves.
Several LGBTQ+ groups have stated that Barrett’s confirmation is an “absolute threat to LGBTQ rights”. Concerns are growing regarding same-sex marriage rights may be overturned as a result of this conservative packed court.
Barrett has also been accused of racist behavior. Her critics include Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, a renowned scholar on racism and race relations in the United States and the director and founder of Boston University Center for Anti-Racist Research, who stated that persons like Barrett could still be racist despite adopting Black children in contrast to those who claim she cannot be racist due to her adopted children.
Her Catholic beliefs and ties to People of Praise assures Republicans that she is pro-life and will vote accordingly if given the opportunity. This could lead to Roe v. Wade being overturned and reproductive rights becoming increasingly limited--a key goal of the Republican Party.
These concerns and critiques have led to a great number of fear within liberal Americans who are concerned that, even with an upcoming presidential election, that the American political system will be changed drastically in the coming years after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, it appears that the legal code in the United States will undoubtedly become more conservative.
As a result, some Democrats are calling for the Supreme Court to be expanded to counteract the overwhelming number of conservative judges on the Supreme Court. Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden has not clearly outlined his stance on the subject. It is unlikely with his position as a moderate Democrat that he would be a strong advocate for expanding the Supreme Court if he does win the presidential election.
Results of the 2020 presidential election aside, which may even be decided by the Supreme Court, it is likely that the Supreme Court will maintain its conservative majority for decades to come. In this conservative majority, liberal laws and previous Supreme Court decisions will be subject to a more right-leaning perspective and may erode away several key liberal victories.