On Saturday, September 26, President Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee. His announcement is jarring the nation, as his decision comes a little over a month before Election Day. If Barrett is confirmed to the seat, the Supreme Court would become a 6-to-3 conservative majority.
Who Is Amy Coney Barrett?
Barrett is a favorite among conservatives. A Catholic woman, she was a law professor at Notre Dame for 15 years. Additionally, she clerked for late Justice Antonin Scalia and many of her views on the law are similar to Scalia’s. Conservatives consider her a legal legend for her stance against the Affordable Care Act. Speaking about Scalia, Barrett intends to follow in his footsteps.
“His judicial philosophy is mine, too. A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they may hold.”
If confirmed she would be the youngest judge at 48 to serve on the highest national court.
In terms of voting history, Barrett has been historically conservative. She is the complete polar opposite of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On issues concerning gun rights, abortion, health care, and discrimination, Barrett has leaned on the right.
Why All The Clamor?
As her dying wish, Ginsburg told her granddaughter that she wanted the next Justice to be appointed after the presidential election. However, a day after her passing Trump announced that he would be nominating someone to the Supreme Court. Also, he stated that he would choose a woman. While there is no law barring the President from nominating someone for the Supreme Court, many were outraged that Trump ignored Ginsburg’s wishes.
Democrats in particular are angry with the motion. In 2016, Obama attempted to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court six months before the next election season. Mitch McConnell blocked the vote, arguing that Obama had “no right” to fill the seat so close to the election season. And yet McConnell promised that the Senate would hold hearings and vote on Barrett before November 3. With a Republican majority, it is very likely that the vote would pass. But the move is aggravating voters, as many Americans want to see the election results before a new Supreme Justice is decided.
The Lasting Impacts
When confirmed to the seat, a Supreme Justice has life tenure. They can only be removed if they retire, die, resign, or are impeached from their position. On average, a Supreme Justice serves on the court for close to 17 years. When the Supreme Court makes a constitutional ruling, it is nearly impossible to overrule it. The only exceptions are a change in amendments or by a new ruling of the court. The Supreme Court decides on issues such as discrimination, health care, freedom of speech, access to health, abortion, and many controversial issues.