Jourdan Ferguson Online Co-editor
Amy Coney Barett is walking through doors RBG opened for her just to shut them for all the women behind her. Trump promised his nomination for RBG’s predecessor would be a woman, but this is practically just Antonin Scalia reincarnated, Barett’s beliefs are outdated and oppressive.
Amy Coney Barret is no doubt qualified to practice law, she excelled and received several awards at Notre Dame where she graduated as summa cum laude and later went on to continue her legacy as a professor. Even those with contrary beliefs to Barett’s have testified to her intellect, known liberal and Harvard law school professor deemed her as a “truly brilliant lawyer.” Barett is undoubtedly educated but her religious beliefs have been a source of controversy for the past few years.
In a Notre Dame speech Barrett encouraged graduates to be a “different kind of lawyer”, she told grad students to, “…keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer but to know, love, and serve God. “ She goes on to once again reiterate her beliefs and shared insight and advised the future lawyers to “…keep in mind that your legal career is but a means to an end, and … that end is building the kingdom of God” With statements like these on her past record, Barrett’s religious beliefs have to be evaluated in the context of how they will affect her duties and obligations as a supreme court judge. This is hard to do because there is still to this day no written qualifications or set standards for the supreme court, nonetheless, judges are expected to serve all people without bias and Barett does not seem to be in a position to do so. On the contrary, many people disagree that Barett’s religious background is an issue of concern, such as Minnesota District Judge Patrick Schiltz who speaks out of experience and relevance to the situation as he is also a Roman Catholic, he explains that “The question of what we believe as a religious matter has nothing to do with what we believe a written document says.” While Judge Schiltz may believe that Barett’s religious beliefs do not influence her beliefs, several other officials are concerned about her strong convictions. In 2017 during Amy Coney Barett’s confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit, Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke about Barett’s biases due to her background, stating that, “You have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should prevail, the dogma lives loudly within you.” The phrase “the dogma lives loudly within you.” gained traction amongst religious conservatives as they applauded Barett for standing true to her beliefs, but what are her beliefs exactly?
Barett’s beliefs align perfectly with conservative values, she is against same-sex marriage, abortion, immigration, and is far from continuing the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While Barett and RBG have many similarities on the surface, both being highly intelligent and having actively defied social expectations of women and both women spoke on their faith in the context of law, but the difference in this situation is that RBG pushed for progress in society and inclusion of minorities while Barett is seeking to revert to an oppressive society that RBG dedicated her life to fighting to eradicate. Barett’s nomination will be detrimental to society, Author Leigh Gilmore explains the nomination of this woman will harm and hinder women rather than improve the conditions of women and goes on to explain why this is not something women are celebrating, “Being a feminist does not mean cheering when a woman, any woman, gains power. Women can use power to oppress other women. Feminists seek not just abortion rights, but reproductive justice, which includes health care, and access to health care, safe housing, and education.” Barett will not use her power to help women as RBG did her entire career she will instead use her power to take away the rights of women. Gilmore reiterates that “Amy Coney Barrett is a guaranteed vote to unmake a world that feminists, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, seek.”
More than siding with the right, Barett is actively seeking to take away the rights of minorities. Barett served as a law clerk to Antonin Scalia, a known and fervent opponent of LGBTQ rights, she defended those who dissented the marriage equality act of Obergefell v. Hodges, she also stated that Title IX protections do not extend to people who are transgender. She has also referred to women who are transgender as “physiologically male” which is completely inappropriate in any context, there is no situation where Barett could not have referred to these women as “woman who have transitioned”, “women who are transgender” or as “transgender women”. The LGBTQ community is already highly impacted, the Trevor Project conveys that LGBT youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth, suicide is already one of the top causes of death amongst transgender and LGBT youth, with a woman like Amy Coney Barett actively disrespecting their existence, those numbers are bound to rise. Women who are transgender experience gender dysphoria for years which has been scientifically linked to causing high rates of intense depression and then finally being able to transition from male to female and spending at least $35,000 to do so, just to have an elected judge who is meant to represent every American, deliberately misrepresent someone who is as much of a woman as she is, it is dehumanizing, Amy Coney Barett’s actions are inhumane and inexcusable. Barett’s actions are a deliberate attack on minorities and it doesn’t stop with the LGBT community.
In addition to her attack on the LGBT community, Barett has several questionable actions in her past concerning immigrants and those of minority races. Barett actively opposed blockades in place to protect and allow Permanent Resident Card applicants to receive public assistance, this population is highly at risk during the pandemic but Barett still dissented any assistance to these struggling groups. Barett also deported Gerson Alvarenga-Flores to El Salvador after determining that his claim that he was being tortured at home was not credible. Barett does not support the rights of immigrants and while many claim because she has adopted two Haitian children she can not possibly be racist, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist speaks on Barett saying that, “Some White colonizers “adopted” Black children. They “civilized” these “savage” children in the “superior” ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.” Kendi goes on to explain that he is not saying that Barett is inherently racist because she adopted children of a different race but rather that any caucasian couple who adopted a child of color should not be deemed as not racist, “ I’m challenging the idea that White parents of kids of color are inherently “not racist” and the bots completely change what I’m saying to “White parents of kids of color are inherently racist.” These live and fake bots are good at their propaganda. Let’s not argue with them.”
Barett is seeking to remove accessibility for not only abortions but contraceptives and birth control. Planned Parenthood has put out a statement since Barett’s nomination stating that “To be very clear, the fact that President Trump has nominated anyone to fill Justice Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat in this moment of national crisis is a direct threat to our health and rights and a disgrace to our democracy. Donald Trump has made it clear that he would only appoint justices who would overturn Roe v Wade, and his administration is currently asking the Supreme Court to dismantle the Affordable Care Act – we can’t afford to see this nomination succeed. Nominating Amy Coney Barrett is a particular insult to the legacy of Justice Ginsburg. Barrett’s history of hostility toward reproductive health and rights expanded health care access, and more demonstrate that she will put Justice Ginsburg’s long record of ensuring that everyone receives equal justice under the law at risk.” Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson goes on to say that, “This is more than Justice Ginsburg’s seat – it’s the people’s seat. Planned Parenthood Action Fund will rise up and fight to stop Amy Coney Barrett, and any nomination, before the 2021 Inauguration.”
Republicans rushing to nominate Barett before the next president is elected is entirely hypocritical considering the opposition they voiced after Obama sought to nominate Merrick Garland to the supreme court after Antonin Scalia died. In 2016 Senator Lindsay Graham who is recognized for his phrase “use my words against me” if he were to advocate the nomination of a Supreme Court justice in any President’s final year of their term is now retweeting the President’s tweets that state that Trump has an “obligation, without delay” to appoint a new supreme court justice. Graham has also tweeted personally saying, “In light of these two events, I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
This is a turning point in history and what happens next will be written in the history books and either way, America will become further divided. The polarization within the United States will grow stronger whether Barett is confirmed or not. At the end of it all, America will be further deteriorating either way but the appointment of Aunt Amy will not help hinder or halt this, America needs to rebuild from its roots when George Washington told the founding fathers not to have political parties, look at America with a lack of unity so distinct that even when history repeats itself, Americans still can not agree on what was previously instated.