Is Justice Amy Coney Barrett fit for a seat on the Supreme Court? Can we trust someone with such strong partisan views to make fair judgments in such a position of power?
On September 26, 2020, President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. One month later, the majority of the Senate voted her into the Supreme Court. Trump held her swearing-in ceremony on the front lawn of the White House.
Barrett is a graduate of Rhodes College and Notre Dame Law School. She clerked under Justice Antonin Scalia. She’s the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She’s also the first Justice that hasn’t graduated from either Harvard or Yale.
It’s fantastic that another woman was appointed to the Supreme Court. It’s fantastic that she didn’t attend Harvard or Yale. A college doesn’t determine the ability, dedication, or talent in any career, including in law. However, I do have a major issue with Barrett serving on the Supreme Court.
First, let’s discuss how Trump went about sneaking Barrett into this position. According to CNBC, Ruth Bader Ginsburg lay on her deathbed with one wish. She wanted whoever won the presidency in late 2020 to decide who should take her place. No matter who won, she felt it should wait until the election.
Despite this wish, despite her legacy, Trump didn’t respect her enough to wait. Is this any surprise? Trump isn’t known for respecting minorities, women, or veterans. Why should we expect anything any different when it comes to Ginsburg?
Who was the one Republican who wanted to respect recently passed Justice Ginsburg? Senator Susan Collins should get some respect for her stance against Trump. She voted against Barrett because of Ginsburg’s wishes.
Beyond that, let’s take a closer look at Justice Barrett’s history in the court system. One case from 2017 that stands out from her days at the Court of Appeals is a lawsuit against AutoZone. AutoZone was transferring employees to different locations based on the color of their skin.
The defendants were turned down for a court case and were fighting for a rehearing. According to Politico, Barrett voted with four other judges to deny the rehearing.
She chose big business over worker’s rights (or basic civil rights). This isn’t the only time either. In 2019, a case came before her involving the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. She believed that age discrimination only involves current employees. Not those applying for a position. Thus, allowing this business to deny applications based only on their age.
She’s also ruled for excessive force. In the case McCottrell v. White, two prison guards used buckshot to break up a fight in the prison dining hall. The buckshot hit two prisoners, injuring them.
These prison guards shot away from an area designed to prevent bullets and buckshot from ricocheting. This very area was designed for situations like the one the guards found themselves in.
Despite the evidence, Barrett voted against this case going to trial. She believed that unless they could prove the guards intended to harm them, they had no case.
Thankfully, the majority disagreed. They felt that since the guards shot away from the area designed to prevent injury, they were intending harm.
These are only a few of Barrett’s rulings over the past three years on the Court of Appeals. As a woman who worked under Justice Scalia, you’d think she would understand law and order. Scalia was conservative but he didn’t allow his political beliefs to interfere with the law.
According to BBC, Barrett said when she was sworn-in, “A judge declares independence not only from the Congress and the president, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her.”
Her words, though noble, are full of empty promises. Her actions have proven time and time again that basic civil rights aren’t important to her. It’s proven that her personal beliefs come before justice when she’s behind the bench.
We don’t need a Supreme Court full of conservatives, as is Trump’s mission. We also don’t need a Supreme Court full of liberals. We need an equal court for fair judgments and decisions.
Casey is a poet with aspirations of becoming a journalist. You can find her reading or watching true crime documentaries.