Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation took place on October 26, 2020, and will replace the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Barrett had only served on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for three years before her Supreme Court nomination from President Donald Trump. The US Senate voted 48-52 to confirm her, much to the dismay of the Democratic side of the aisle. Members of the Democratic party felt that her nomination and confirmation contradicted the Republican’s prior behavior in 2016. Former President Barack Obama attempted to confirm Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court Justice but the Senate never voted due to the fact that they felt the Obama Administration attempted a power grab because of 2016’s status as an election year. However, Obama’s nomination was in March, and Barrett was confirmed eight days before an election.
Barrett claims she will work independently of her religion, however, her previous words on the separation of church and state make that statement hard to believe. A devout Catholic, Barrett has not been shy about broadcasting her religion in the political scene. She has stated she rules in accordance with her Christian beliefs and said in the 2006 Notre Dame commencement address, “But if you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”
Justice Barrett also has spoken out about her views on abortion, leaving many women scared that Roe v. Wade may face scrutiny in their lifetimes. In 2006, she signed a newspaper ad by St. Joseph County Right to Life, a notoriously anti-choice group, that contained an abundance of anti-abortion propaganda. She also threw out and reheard abortion cases multiple times across her short career after receiving a verdict she did not support. In 2016, during the final presidential debate about abortion, President Donald Trump promised to only appoint pro-life judges if elected. Justice Barrett has also stated life begins at conception multiple times and with her record of not keeping religion out of politics, Roe v. Wade could face upcoming threats.
Another concern expressed about Justice Barrett’s appointment, her opinions on LGBTQ rights, could mean the end of gay marriage. As addressed previously, Barrett has publicly pledged to rule in accordance with her Catholic beliefs and has said marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. She defended justices opposed to Obergefeld v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage on a federal level. She also stated her belief that Title IX protections should not extend to transgender individuals and repeatedly misgendered those individuals. Her inability to rule fairly and impartially with LGBTQ+ rights causes many individuals to fear for their safety within the United States.
With many calling Justice Barrett’s appointment a blatant power grab by the right, another seat in the Supreme Court filled by a woman gives hope to women everywhere who wish to join the political scene. However, Barrett’s appointment could cause women and other groups to struggle more in everyday life by taking away reproductive rights, threaten LGBTQ+ rights, and impact the separation of church and state. ACB has promised to remain impartial and independent, and only time will tell if she lives up to her promise.