Last Monday, Oct. 26, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court, making Barrett the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court and the 115th Supreme Court Justice. Coney Barrett’s confirmation vote was 52-48 with almost unanimous support from the Republican senators and complete opposition from Democrats, highlighting the divisive rift and tension in America.
The only Republican senator who opposed Barrett’s conformation, Senator Susan Collins, remarked, “I do not think it is fair nor consistent to have a Senate confirmation vote prior to the election.”
Many of the Democratic Senators expressed similar sentiments as Collins, calling Coney Barrett’s nomination “illegitimate” and “the last gasp of a desperate party.”
Coney Barrett graduated first in her class from the University of Notre Dame’s Law School and was a clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, one the most conservative judges on the Supreme Court. Coney Barrett spent most of her career as a professor at Notre Dame and was voted as professor of the year numerous times. Coney Barrett is married to her husband Jesse and lives with him and her seven children in Indiana.
Coney Barrett’s confirmation has significant implications for the American public. A devout Catholic, Barrett’s legal opinions and statements about abortion, gay marriage, environmental policy, healthcare and business regulation put her as potentially one of the most conservative justices. Many Americans are concerned about the possible overturning of key cases such as Roe v. Wade (1973) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) as Coney Barrett has already clearly expressed her strong opposition to these rulings.
Coney Barrett is an originalist, believing that judges should aim to interpret the Constitution as closely as to how the authors intended it when it was written. Many liberals oppose this view claiming that the Constitution should be more fluid, broadening its scope for the modern world.
The stark contrast between Barrett, a staunch conservative, and her successor the late Justice Ginsburg, an iconic liberal, could not be more evident.
According to the New York Times, Ginsberg notably told her granddaughter on her deathbed that she wanted to wait to be replaced until the American people expressed their voices in the upcoming election. However, as a last-minute power move, Trump and Republicans chose to ignore Ginsberg’s wish despite the precedence of the Republicans insisting on a delay in Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination by Obama in 2016.
With Coney Barrett’s confirmation, the Supreme Court now has a strong Republican majority of 6-3, indicating the direction of future rulings.
With the election just a day away, Coney Barrett’s appointment holds so much weight and influence. Coney Barrett is the third Justice Trump has appointed during his presidency as well as 162 new district court judges and 53 appeals court judges. Even if Trump doesn’t win, he has set up America for Republican rulings in the long term.