New supreme court nomination heightens liberal fear of conservative court

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Shealah Craighead // Creative Commons

Barrett’s nomination is highly disputed due to its close proximity to the 2020 presidential elections.

Following the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, we witnessed an uproar of chaos in politics. There were citizens mourning the death of the iconic justice, while our government was on the hunt to quickly replace the now empty chair. 

Drama arose when the quick desire to replace Ginsberg became present to the media. Sides were being chosen on whether or not the Trump Administration should have the power to replace Ginsberg this close to the election. Others were stating there was no problem with it. 

Even more drama arose when Trump’s replacement nomination, Amy Coney Barrett, was announced to the public. Barrett is known for her right-wing and religious beliefs and identifies as an originalist. Originalism entails interpreting the constitution as the authors originally intended. She has worked on several cases in the past that cover a variety of topics, including Title IX and Immigration.  

Due to these Republican values, many Democrats believe that if Barrett were to succeed Ginsberg, she would discontinue Ginsberg’s legacy and reverse several cases, including the Affordable Care Act. 

The main issue some Democrats are stating is the fact that a similar situation to the one we are currently in regarding the Supreme Court chair occured back in 2016. When Obama was in power, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died seven months prior to election day. When Obama tried to nominate someone new, the senate, who was a Republican majority, blocked it, stating that a new nomination should not be filled until there was a new president in office. That would mean there would be an empty chair for many months until Trump gained power and was able to nominate someone new. 

History does seem to repeat itself though, because what happened in 2016 is almost identical to what is happening now. The only difference is that no one, not even the senate, is stopping the president from nominating Barrett despite an election being right around the corner. Due to this hypocrisy, I believe it is unfair to continue to push nominations through. If the senate was blocking our past president from placing nominees so close to an election, why are they suddenly allowing it now? Why is it considered fair to the people if they are not giving us “a voice in the selection of our next Supreme Court justice,” as said by Mitch McConnell during the 2016 fiasco?

If Barrett were to replace Ginsburg in the near future, it would mean our judicial branch would be the most conservative it’s ever been since the 1930’s. One of the biggest fears behind having a conservative-majority court is the thought that they may reverse some landmark cases, most notably Roe v. Wade. If a conservative-majority court is in our future, then I, along with other Democrats, would walk around every day knowing that we are being led and ruled by a political party that could eliminate important acts people fought so hard for in the past.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg did a monumental amount for our country and to think that she could be replaced by someone who disagrees with the cases she signed off on is worrisome. Going back to 2016, we see how the government originally viewed a pre-election nomination process, so it’s unclear as to why they are pretending this has never happened before and continuing to disregard the legacy Ginsburg created.