As the US Senate confirmed the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, who was nominated by President Trump, let us take a look at her views on key issues and the controversy regarding her appointment.
Crux of the Matter
On 27 October, 2020, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Justice in the US Supreme Court. She was appointed after the Senate voted 52-48 in her favour. All the Democrats voted against her appointment, citing the proximity of the November 3 Presidential elections as the reason. Barrett became the first Justice in 151 years to be confirmed without “a single vote from the minority party”.
The US Supreme Court now has a 6-3 majority of Conservative judges. President Trump nominated Barrett on 26 September. He allegedly expressed a wish to have her on the council in case of disputes in the Presidential Election.
Barrett replaces the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the notable Justice famous as a liberal and feminist icon, who died on 18 September 2020.
Who Is Amy Coney Barrett?
- Barret has worked as a Professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School.
- She has served in clerkships under Judge Laurence Silberman and former Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, both renowned Conservative Judges.
- 2017: She was appointed by Trump (and confirmed by the Senate) to the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
- She is identified as an “Originalist”, interpreting the Constitution as it was at the time of writing.
I interpret the constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it…so that meaning doesn’t change over time. And it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it.Amy Coney Barrett
- Barrett is associated with the People of Praise – a conservative Christian “faith group”. Even though she has claimed that she won’t let her religious views interfere in her decisions, critics are still apprehensive of such a possibility.
- ‘People of Praise’ has been accused of a strong anti-LGBTQ stance. Human Rights Campaign has described Barrett’s appointment as a “threat to LGBT rights”.
- Barrett allegedly advocates the loosening of the Gun control laws.
- Trump advocates the removal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which covers healthcare of millions of people. A hearing on Obamacare is scheduled 1 week after the election, where Barrett is expected to vote for its removal as per analysts.
- Trump has expressed a wish to overturn the historic ‘Roe v Wade’ judgement, which legalized abortion in the US in 1973. Recently, Trump claimed that it is “certainly possible” to have Barrett part of the ruling to overturn Roe vs Wade, with Barrett having called for more restrictions on abortion in the past.
- February 2016: Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.
- The then-President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the vacant seat, who is widely known as a ‘Centrist’ judge.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several Republicans refused any hearing on the nominee. They cited elections (still then 9 months away) as the reason for the refusal.
- Garland has been in discussion again as ironically, the Republicans nominated Barrett 1 week before the 2020 Presidential election.
To know about how the media and social media in US have been in discussion due to their non-partisan behaviour concerning 2020 US Elections, click here: Trump, Biden And Media Partisanship
- Ruth Bader was the first female member of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. President Obama has also served as the first black President of the review in 1990.
- One of the historic judgements of the US Supreme courts is a 5–4 majority ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
- William H. Taft is the only US president to also serve as a Supreme Court justice. Taft was the 27th president (1909–1913) and the 10th Chief Justice (1921–1930) of the United States.
- According to a tradition, Supreme Court justices shake hands with each of the other eight when they meet to discuss cases. This serves as a reminder that in spite of differences of opinions, the Court still works in overall harmony.
- Sandra Day O’Connor was the first lady to be appointed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. She was nominated by President Ronal Reagan.
- Scott v. Stanford, also known as the Dred Scott decision, struck down the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act and ruled that just because an enslaved person was living in a “free” state, that didn’t mean they weren’t still enslaved. This ruling increased tensions between the North and South in the build-up to the Civil War.
- Hindustan Times – Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to US Supreme Court
- The Indian Express – Ruth Bader Ginsburg death: The Merrick Garland ‘rule’ Democrats want Republicans to uphold
- NPR – Gun Control Groups Voice ‘Grave Concerns’ About Supreme Court Nominee’s Record
- The Guardian – Amy Coney Barrett is a constitutional ‘originalist’ – but what does it mean?
- BBC – Roe v Wade: Trump says Supreme Court ruling on abortion ‘possible’
- The New York Times – Barrett’s Record: A Conservative Who Would Push the Supreme Court to the Right