Just eight days after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Donald Trump announced his pick for replacing the empty seat on the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett is a 48 year old mother of seven. She previously worked as a law professor at Notre Dame University until Trump appointed her to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. While Barrett may be qualified to fill the job of Supreme Court Justice in terms of education and past job experience, many people fear that her conservative stance on pivotal controversial issues will mean less advocacy for historically marginalized groups throughout the U.S.
More specifically, people fear that Barrett would side to overturn Roe V. Wade and the Affordable Care Act. This is no mistake on behalf of the President. According to NPR, Trump vowed to appoint conversative judges that would overturn Roe V. Wade during the 2016 election. So far he has delivered on his promise, appointing several conservative judges at the district level.
As far as Barrett’s beliefs are concerned, she is a proud Catholic woman with a record against pro-choice rulings. During her senate confirmation hearings in 2017, Barrett was asked her personal views on Roe V. Wade. She did not openly state that she would seek to overturn this ruling. However, she did state “All nominees are united in their belief that what they think about a precedent should not bear on how they decide cases.” This has become the go-to answer for anti-abortion activists who do not wish to actively condemn the Roe V. Wade ruling.
Another issue that concerns progressive and left leaning voters is Barrett’s views on LGBTQ+ rights. In the past, Barrett has sided with discriminatory rulings towards the LGBTQ+ community which do not reasure progressive voters. In 2016 Barret agreed with a Title IX ruling claiming Title IX protections should not extend to transgender Americans. Barrett claimed that inclusing transgender women would be reading too much into Title IX policies. She has also been known to misgender trans women by referring to them as “physiological males.” With the Supreme Court being historically pivotal for the advancement for LGBTQ+ rights, Barrett’s weight in Supreme Court rulings could stand in the way of human rights for this entire community.
Perhaps the most pertinent issue during this COVID-19 pandemic is health care. People are especially fearful of what Barrett’s nomination could mean for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Repealing the Affordable Care Act has been a central part of Trump’s campaign throughout the last four years. With a 6 to 3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, it may finally be possible. Even so, Trump has presented no concrete plan to replace the Affordable Care Act which currently gives health insurance to millions of Americans. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 29.8 people would lose health insurance and 1.2 million people would lose their job if the Affordable Care Act were repealed. Clearly the height of a global pandemic is not the time to leave millions of people without income and health insurance.
Essentially, Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg means one less vote in the Supreme Court advocating for marginalized communities across the U.S. Even though Trump has advocated to fill this seat as soon as possible, a Supreme Court seat has never been filled this close to an election. The 2020 presidential race could be the deciding factor on whether Barrett becomes a Supreme Court Justice, making voting especially necessary in this election.