Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court justice leads to controversy


Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the 115th Supreme Court justice on Oct. 27, succeeding the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by a 52-48 Senate vote.

Controversies have arisen following Barrett’s election, including her qualifications for the job and whether she’s a worthy replacement for Ginsburg.

Before being nominated as a Supreme Court justice, Barrett served as a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School and a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of appeals, where she was also nominated by President Trump.

Prior to her death, Ginsburg requested for her replacement to not be chosen until a new president is elected.

After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia during President Barack Obama’s administration, the Senate Republican majority refused to vote for a replacement given the proximity to the next election.

Obama had 11 months left in office, in comparison to the 38 days left before the election when Barrett was nominated by President Trump.

Legal analyst Kristin Jabs-Ellenburg said that she believes Barrett is unqualified as a Supreme Court justice and not a qualified replacement for Ginsburg, rather insurance for President Trump.

“She’s not representative of a strong woman and cannot hold a candle to Ruth,” said Jabs-Ellenburg.

Randy Machado, a member of the gay community, also agreed that Barrett has minimal experience and that she’s not a good replacement for Ginsburg.

He said that the fact that, during her hearing, Barrett forgot that protesting is a right listed in the Bill of Rights shows a lack of suitability. 

“In modern context — with today’s headline — a Supreme Court nominee should be apt to protect the right to protest and fully comprehend it’s legalities,” said Machado, adding that “[Barrett’s] nomination after Ruth’s death was disrespectful to her, her legacy, and the legitimacy of the U.S. government.”

Beyond the dispute over her qualifications, the timing of her nomination, and whether she’s fit to fulfill the legacy of Ginsburg, LGBT people and pro-choice women also believe that Barrett is a threat to their rights.

Barrett has not specifically ruled for or against abortion in any case she’s been on, but she has reviewed two cases that would’ve tightened abortion restrictions if passed. 

Barrett voted in favor of an abortion privacy issue where doctors would’ve been mandated to inform the parents of minors who were seeking abortion, and a state law that would’ve banned abortions for women who wanted one for reasons incuding disability and life-threatening health conditions.

While Barrett may not necessarily seek to ban abortions entirely, any restriction making it harder to receive an abortion is an infringement on a woman’s Constititional right.

Pro-choice believer Haley Halkias said that she’s terrified of Barrett trying to overturn the Roe vs. Wade precedent.

“It’s just going to lead to illegal and dangerous abortions,” said Halkias.

LGBT people also have reason to worry about Barrett’s nomination threatening the rights and recognition they’ve fought long and hard for.

Machado said that Barrett’s track record with LGBT isn’t good, considering she was recently employed by a private school that discriminates against hiring LGBT people.

Trinity Schools Inc., where Barrett was employed from July 2015 to March 2017, teaches their students that marriage is between a man and a woman. They also do not admit children of same-sex parents and will not hire LGBT teachers.

Machado said that during her hearing, Barrett swayed more on the side of caution and not taking a side.

“I do not feel my rights are safe as an LGBT member. Her not taking a side deliberately, her religious background, her new colleagues… it’s nerve wracking really,” said Machado.