With just less than a week until the 2020 election, the Senate has voted to confirm the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett as the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court, taking the space left empty by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The vote was 52 to 48 with all but one Republican member of the Senate voting in favor of her confirmation.
Barrett is a conservative appeals court judge chosen by President Trump and the Republican party. She is devoutly Catholic and was mentored by constitutional originalist Justice Antonin Scalia. Her views reflect this as she is widely considered pro-life in her stance, being quoted as saying that Roe v. Wade is “barbaric.” According to CNN, Barrett also spoke to two anti-abortion student groups at Notre Dame in 2013, which she did not disclose in her paperwork filed to the Senate.
Along with her views on reproductive rights, she is highly critical of the Affordable Care Act. Because of this, many believe that when then the arguments on a case for the validity of the ACA are heard again after the November election it will be in danger of being cut. This would leave at least 20 million Americans at risk of losing their healthcare.
The decision to confirm Barrett eight days before the election has left many people baffled. Democrats have openly opposed this decision, saying that it should have waited until after the election so that the American people could have their say. As so many citizens have already submitted their ballots before the decision was made, it is speculated that this was a conscious attempt at a power grab while the Republican party still holds the majority.
Barrett’s confirmation is also seen as directly hypocritical to a similar situation in 2016 under the Obama administration, where former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, was denied a hearing by the Republican-led Senate nearly eight months before the election. They believed that the decision of a new member of the Supreme Court should wait until after the 2016 presidential election, yet now in 2020 with the election looming they have changed their tune.
In the wake of Barrett’s confirmation, many women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and members of the pro-choice movement are terrified of what this could mean for their rights.
With talk circulating of repealing samesex marriage and criminalizing abortion among other reproductive rights, these groups of people feel as though they will lose all the progress made without even a chance of their voices being heard.
The impact of Barrett as the newest member of the Supreme Court can already be felt within the community, and while Republicans rally behind her as a champion for their beliefs, many communities fear for the worst knowing their rights are on the line.