Alyse Kaminski | Staff Columnist
This year has been all too much for me. Between the pandemic and the upcoming election, I feel constantly anxious. Then a few weeks ago, one of my personal heroes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed away and the GOP didn’t even let the country mourn before deciding to rush through a Supreme Court nomination. 2020 needs to relax.
Before diving into the discussion of Amy Coney Barrett, I think it is worth noting how remarkable Ginsburg was. Her work in the 1970s to fight against gender discrimination gave women freedoms that are taken for granted today, like being able to serve on a jury.
Sure, it doesn’t sound fun to have jury duty, but there was a time when women weren’t allowed to partake in the civil duty to determine a defendant guilty or not guilty. If you’re looking to learn more about Ginsburg, I recommend watching “RBG,” an in-depth documentary about her life. It is available on Hulu.
As we all know, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg. There’s a lot to unpack about this situation, so it’s difficult to determine where to start. Perhaps the Republican hypocrisy of confirming a judge during an election year is a good place to begin.
In 2016, when Antonin Scalia died, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell struck down the nomination, stating that a new Supreme Court justice should not be nominated during an election year.
Senator Lindsey Graham was another advocate for waiting for the new president. He said, “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination. And you could use my words against me, and you’d be absolutely right.”
Isn’t it crazy how America is in a situation where we can use Graham’s words against him, but the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett are happening as I write this?
The 2016 GOP leaders are right — it is wrong to confirm a new judge in an election year. America picks a president every four years, and that president has the power to nominate judges — judges who serve a lifelong term.
The confirmation of any judge is not a two- or four-year commitment, it lasts for generations. And if the American people are due to pick a new president, then the American people are the ones selecting the fate of the court.
Another thing that is driving me mad is Barrett’s record. While she and RBG are both highly successful women with three names, that is their only similarity.
While RBG fought continuously for gender equality and reproductive freedom for women, ACB will work to take those protections away. And I’m not trying to be dramatic or fear mongering. Barrett, in 2006, wrote that she would like to see “an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade.”
Now, you may not agree with Roe v. Wade, or maybe you do — that’s up to you to decide. But it set a precedent that gives women autonomy over their bodies, and that’s important to a lot of Americans. Most Americans are actually opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade.
Not only this, but she is against the Affordable Care Act, which is an issue relevant to college students. If ObamaCare goes away, anyone under the age of 26 will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance. I know very well that I cannot afford to pay for my own health insurance, so I am quite worried about this one.
She also sided against a Black employee who was transferred to another location through what appeared to be segregation by race.
Amy Coney Barrett is dangerous. She is an abomination to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy. And the fact that as I am writing this, she is in the process of a confirmation hearing proves that the Republicans only have one thing in mind — their own interests. Don’t be fooled by President Trump’s nomination of a woman. Just being a woman does not mean Barrett supports women’s interests.
If they cared about upholding the precedent they claimed to have set in 2016, there would be no hearing happening right now. If they cared about us, they would be working on another Covid relief bill. I reject this nomination.