Ruth Bader-Ginsburg was a former justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until she passed away in September of this year. President Donald Trump was quick to nominate a new Justice to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court. A similar situation happened in 2016 when Justice Scalia passed away nine months before the general election. Senator Mitch McConnell stated that President Obama should not appoint a new nominee and wait until the new President was sworn in. Now, despite Senator McConnell's obvious position with what happened in 2016 with respect to when the SCOTUS nomination should occur, Republicans like himself have been upholding President Trump's choice to appoint a new nominee.
Who is Amy Coney Barrett?
Amy Coney Barrett is a circuit judge on the U.S. Court for Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She ironically used to clerk for the late Justice Anthony Scalia after law school and was once a professor at Notre Dame Law School. Judge Barrett is also a textualist and an originalist, which means she focuses on the plain meaning of the text (I.e. Consitution). Textualism focuses on how the terms in the Constitution would be understood by people at the time they were ratified and the context of the time, as opposed to reading it in a contemporary understanding. If approved, she would be the youngest woman currently on the court and could serve for many more decades. Between Judge Barrett, both being a textualist and Republican, many fear that her joining the Court, which is already right-leaning, could have many retroactive implications moving forward. Here are five takeaways of why Barrett might not be the best nominee to serve on the SCOTUS.
1. She forgot one of the five freedoms outlined in the First Amendment
The five freedoms of the first amendment are religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly. She forgot protest (otherwise known as petition). This seems very unsettling, especially with the plethora of protests that have occurred this year.
2. She used the term "sexual preference" rather than "sexual orientation" more than once
Senator Mazie Hirono (HI) brought notice to the fact that Judge Barrett did not previously comment when asked if she agreed with the majority ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) which is a fundamental civil rights case giving same-sex couples the right to marry. Furthermore, Judge Barrett continued to use the term "sexual preference" rather than "sexual orientation" which is impermissible language as it applies that sexual orientation is a preference or choice.
3. When asked if there was an ongoing investigation of her she replied that she was "unaware"
When asked if she had any ongoing investigation that would prohibit her from being automatically confirmed to the Court (as happened with Justice Kavanaugh in 2018) she replied she wasn't aware of one. Obviously, you would know if you were going through an investigation.
4. She can't think of any literature she has read on racial injustice
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Senator Cory Booker (NJ). questioned Judge Barrett what literature she has read about racial disparities since race is a predominant part of our country's narrative and an aspect she should be well versed in as a judge and possibly a justice. She could not name any book, journal article, or any other type of literature besides the Sentencing Commission guidelines.
5. She refuses to answer many questions on the basis it is policy, even if it isn't
Since she is a nominee, she cannot give direct opinions on policy, such as abortion. When asked certain questions, her response was that she couldn't answer as it was related to policy. Although, there were questions she claimed she couldn't answer due to this principle even if they were seemingly not related to policy. Was she trying to be safe rather than sorry, or beating around the bush?
According to NPR, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court at 1 p.m. ET on October 22, 2020.