On October 26, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as the ninth justice of the Supreme Court, replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This solidifies a 6-3 Republican majority in the Supreme Court. Her confirmation has sent most social media platforms into uproars, as she seems to want to undo many of Ginsburg’s decisions that sought to create equality between the sexes. Unfortunately, this lifelong confirmation will set into motion another 50-ish years with Barrett as a sitting justice. As we settle into this new justice lineup, here are her stances on three key political issues that you should know about.
- Abortion rights
Roe v. Wade is a phrase we’ve heard being thrown around recently on Instagram and Twitter. If you don’t know, the court case basically granted legal access to safe abortions and struck down any statewide anti-abortion laws. While this has been a controversial topic over the years, it has not been in such jeopardy until recently.
Trump has made it clear he supported Barrett largely because of her pro-life stance. Barrett has indicated her willingness to defer the manner of abortion restrictions to state legislatures, meaning that states would have their choice in abortion restrictions and limitations. Since 21 states already have laws that could limit abortion access, should Roe v. Wade be repealed, some states would quickly be able to ban abortion. Additionally, access to birth control could also be limited since some states have drawn a blurry line between abortion and birth control methods like Plan B.
The confirmation of Barrett makes huge restrictions on birth control and abortion access all the more likely.
- Gun safety laws
In the words of John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, “Make no mistake: Amy Coney Barrett is a gun rights extremist.” In the words of Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, “Amy Coney Barrett’s alarming interpretation of the second amendment would make her an ideal Supreme Court Justice for the NRA, but a terrible one for the safety of the American people.”
This idea of Barrett’s views comes from her dissent during Kanter v. Barr, which focused on Wisconsin resident Kanter’s right to possess a firearm after being convicted of felony mail fraud. Both federally and statewide, it is illegal to possess a firearm as a previously convicted felon.
In Barrett’s dissent, she disagreed with statistics showing convicted felons (even nonviolent ones) are more likely to commit gun-related crimes. She argued nonviolent offenders should not be stripped of their right to own guns.
This case, while a limited source of evidence for Barrett’s stance on gun control, clearly indicates her position on gun safety laws. Should the Supreme Court face any gun safety laws, it is unlikely that she would support any limits on gun access. This could lead to a more dangerous country in the years to come.
The Affordable Care Act has made healthcare far more accessible to the American people since being signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2010. Since then, however, Republicans have feverishly tried to abolish it.
The abolition of the ACA would have devastating effects nationally. The ACA banned gender-based discrimination by health insurance companies, making it illegal for companies to adjust pricing based on gender. Since the passage of the act, the proportion of women at reproductive age who were uninsured has declined from 20 percent to 12 percent.
The ACA also banned insurance companies from declining to cover people with pre-existing conditions, which is especially important amid the current pandemic. Pre-existing conditions can include pregnancy, anxiety, obesity, and even being a victim of domestic violence. Should the ACA be abolished, up to 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would be at risk of losing their health insurance.
Seemingly, Barrett opposes the ACA. She has repeatedly called the constitutionality of the act into question, writing a law review article criticizing the 2012 ruling which upheld the ACA. She also applauded the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during King v. Burwell, after Scalia argued the ACA’s subsidies were unconstitutional. It’s likely that Barrett would support striking down the ACA in the current case challenging the Supreme Court.
As someone so shockingly different from RBG, it was surprising to see Barrett confirmed into the Supreme Court in October. It almost seems like a slap in the face, a disregard for the late RBG’s legacy.
Nevertheless, we will persist. I have no doubt that the American people will continue to fight for our rights, regardless of the Republican majority in the court. I am certain that good things are on their way.
As always, stay safe, hang tight, and eat the rich.