By Jaria Butler
Image source: npr.org
On Monday, October 26th, the Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for the Supreme Court 52 to 48 as the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18, 2020. Ginsburg left a remarkable legacy shaping modern American life, being the second woman ever to be appointed onto the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ginsburg fought against gender discrimination, co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, and passionately fought for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, undocumented people and disabled people. She also fought to expand voting rights.
Barrett and Ginsburg have two completely different views, as Barrett is a conservative with strong Catholic views and Ginsberg was a liberal. Some people feel that Barrett is mixing the church’s teaching and law together; with Barrett in office, human rights are at risk. Many people are concerned with the future of abortion rights and LGBTQ+ rights, among many others.
Starting with abortion and contraception, Barrett is strictly anti-abortion and may have future plans of overturning Roe V. Wade, a Supreme Court ruling in place which protects a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. An article that Barrett co-wrote in 1998 said that terminating a pregnancy was “always immoral.” During her Senate confirmation hearing, Barrett appeared to avoid the issue of contraception, but as it’s against Catholic teachings, you could take a guess as to where she currently stands on the issue.
Junior Dillen Sampson conveyed her thoughts on Barrett potentially taking away abortion rights. “I disagree with Coney Barrett’s actions and what she stands for because there is more that plays into having a baby or an abortion. You may not be financially ready [or] don’t want to bring a kid into the world…or it may be a product of rape. Regardless, everyone should have a say for their own body because we don’t know exactly what is causing their actions.”
Barrett is also blatantly disrespectful towards the LGBTQ+ community as she struggles to respect their identities and does not believe they should have basic human rights. At a Jacksonville University Hesburgh lecture in 2016, when Barrett was a professor, she did not refer to transgender people by their identified genders, instead calling women “physiological males.” Barrett also had affiliations with the ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom), a conservative and Christian law firm with a very anti-LGBTQ+ history. The core values of the Alliance Defending Freedom include the outlawing of gay marriage, and even any intimate same-sex relationships.
Junior Salamata Bah expressed her opinion on LGBTQ+ rights potentially being taken away, commenting, “The LGBTQ+ community still deals with hate crimes… to think [that] may get worse because [of] Barrett makes my stomach turn. They are human just like everyone else and who someone chooses to love should not determine how they should be treated.”
Barrett considers herself to be a Constitutional Originalist, which is someone who interprets the words of the constitution as they were commonly understood when it was drafted in 1787. If originalist thinking had prevailed on the Court in 1954, we would still have segregated schools in the South. This itself is an issue and society has changed so much over the course of time for us, and for people in positions of power such as Barrett, to have the same mindset as the founding fathers.
Americans have the right to believe in what they choose, including Barrett, but the problem that we hope not to see in the future is a justice who is biased in court decisions and goes against the constitution, only following their personal beliefs and attempting to deprive the people they deem as “undeserving” of basic human rights. For the American people, we hope Barrett keeps her conservative Catholic values separate from her court rulings. Americans have come too far to see the progress we have made be erased, and we must see to it that progress continues in the future of the United States.