By Julietta Bisharyan and Linh Nguyen
WASHINGTON D.C. – Six weeks after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Ginsburg’s seat, despite the fact that the presidential election is approaching in a few days.
In a 52-48 Senate vote, Barrett was confirmed as the successor to Ginsburg Supreme Court seat. All Democrats opposed and all but one Republican were in favor. Barrett was sworn in and took oath on the night of Oct. 26, establishing a 6-3 conservative majority on the bench. She is described as a protégé of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
President Donald Trump’s nomination of Barrett was met with widespread ambivalence among the American public and American politicians.
“Senate Republicans jammed through this nomination in the middle of an election where over 60 million Americans have already voted,” Senator Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Senate Republicans have ignored the will of the people, deciding instead to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – who devoted her life to fighting for equal justice – with someone who was selected to undo her legacy.”
Following the confirmation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called her appointment “the most illegitimate process I have ever witnessed in the Senate.”
“Today will go down as one of the darkest days in the Senate’s 231-year history,” Schumer said. “The Senate GOP is thwarting the will of the people and confirming a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election. Democrats will never stop fighting for Americans.”
Over the course of her time on the bench, Justice Ginsburg fought for progressive social justice, including LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive rights. Ginsburg’s dying wish was for the next president to name her replacement.
Naming Barrett to replace Ginsburg threatens these rights – Barrett has stated on numerous occasions that she is willing to revisit Roe v. Wade, which threatens women’s reproductive rights. She also has ruled against cases involving employment discrimination, immigration rights, the environment, qualified immunity, criminal procedure, civil procedure and COVID-19 measures.
“Barrett’s long history of anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant statements and decisions make her fundamentally unfit to serve on the Supreme Court,” said Representative Ayanna Pressley. “Let me be clear: abortion care is health care, and health care is a human right. Judge Barrett is a dangerous, far-right ideologue who does not belong on our nation’s highest court.”
Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi similarly said, “The President’s Supreme Court manipulation threatens the very values and rights that define and distinguish our nation: a woman’s constitutional right to make her own medical decisions, the rights of LGBTQ Americans, the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain for fair wages, the future of our planet and environmental protections, voting rights and the right of every American to have a voice in our democracy.”
During Barrett’s confirmation hearing, she failed to name all five rights protected by the First Amendment, refused to answer whether she believes that Medicare is constitutional and refused to acknowledge the scientific fact that climate change is happening, calling it “controversial.”
Barrett’s limited experience has also been called into question, as she has been cited as the most inexperienced person nominated to the Supreme Court since 1991.
Trump had previously appointed Barrett to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017. Before her nomination to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, she had never served as a judge or worked in the government as a prosecutor, defense lawyer, solicitor general, attorney general or as counsel to any legislative body.
“As a nominee for our nation’s highest court, Judge Barrett is an example to girls and young women in Iowa, and across America, that they truly can do it all,” Senator Joni Ernst said after Barrett was nominated.
Minutes after Barrett’s confirmation, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Joe Biden, should he win this election, to “expand the court.”
“Republicans do this because they don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do. And for a long time they’ve been correct,” she added. “But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal, but a response isn’t. There is a legal process for expansion.”
This is the third seat on the Supreme Court that Trump has filled.
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