As members of a democratic nation, one of our core values is diversity of opinions, which construct a successful representative government. Every citizen is entitled to their own beliefs, and the point of our government is to provide accurate representation to the many circles of thought inhabited by Americans.
However, only two of our three branches of government are made up of elected officials. The judicial branch is composed of many levels of federal judges, but at the top is the national Supreme Court. Typically nine justices sit on the Supreme Court at any given time, each appointed by the president in office at the time a seat becomes open. Historically this means that most presidents only get to appoint one to two justices per term. Along with the Senate being able to veto the president’s selections, this system usually prevents one party from being able to tip the Supreme Court dramatically in their favor. But this year we face a dangerous crossroad, as a president not elected by the popular vote aims to fill his third Supreme Court seat this term, with a Republican majority Senate behind him. What is at stake following the newest appointment? The future of our national government policy.
Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s current Supreme Court select, is set to replace the empty seat left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the end of 2020, inevitably tipping the Supreme Court in favor of Conservative policy. Obviously, without actually seeing Barett in action, we have no concrete evidence that she would be a guaranteed vote conservatively. But with every new piece of information we learn about her, all signs point to another Republican vote.
Let us lay out a quick rundown on her views on the most pressing issues of our generation. She is indesputably “pro-life,” a viewpoint which could be explained by faith… except for the fact that Barrett is pro death penalty, so this viewpoint may be best described as anti-choice. Barrett is also a vocal advocate for expanding citizens’ Second Amendment rights, emphasised by her public opposition last year to a ban on gun possession by convicted felons. Forget about passing legislation restricting the gun access of regular citizens. In regards to the Affordable Care Act, she remains ambiguous, refusing to state a concrete opinion during her questioning by the Senate. And finally, Barrett dissented last year in favor of Trump’s increasingly restrictive immigration policies, rounding her out as a conservative through and through.
As the Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barett on Monday, October 26th, the Supreme Court will slide into a 6-3 conservative majority which has the potential to make a massive impact on governmental policy. From the Equal Protection Clause, to criminal justice reform policies, all legislation faces a risk of being weakened or overturned under a conservative Supreme Court. Even if Biden wins the election, this appointment reminds us that the presidency is no the only branch of government we have to worry about. As a nation, we have a lot of work to do, and we are in danger of moving backwards if we do not remain vigilant and proactive.