Amy Coney Barrett Has No Place on the Supreme Court

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Aviva Lehman ’22 posted photos of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to eulogize the late judge.

Charlotte Kleeger ’24

Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed into the Supreme Court one week before Election Day. Before this, Barrett was a law professor at Notre Dame law school for almost two decades, and then went on to serve on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for less than three years. Barrett’s far-right views appeal to many right-wing conservatives, along with the fact that she is very religious. But is Amy Coney Barrett qualified for the Supreme Court? My short answer is no. And there are many reasons why not. 

Amy Coney Barrett is a devout Catholic, which can lead us to assume that her religion influences her greatly. She was also involved in a group called People of Praise, where it is believed that men should have authority over their wives. Furthermore, Barrett has written in the past that Catholicism should affect a judge’s jurisprudence, completely violating the separation of church and state. While Barrett is allowed to hold standards based on religion for herself, she cannot enforce them on others. Will her beliefs influence her decisions as a justice? Possibly. For example, Barrett has tried to restrict abortion rights in the past. In the case Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc., Barrett dissented to the blocking of a law that calls for informing a minor’s parents if said minor wants to have an abortion. She also signed her name to an ad in the South Bend Tribune, an Indiana newspaper, by the group St. Joseph County Right to Life. The ad declared that ones who sign “oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death.” Therefore, as a religious conservative who has a record of attempting to restrict abortion rights, along with the fact that President Donald J. Trump has said that he would only appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade, we have every reason to assume that Barrett would do so. Outlawing abortions is not a good solution. If women do not have access to safe abortions, it will not stop them from getting one. Pregnant women may resort to desperate measures such as getting the operation done by someone unqualified or even aborting the child themselves. This puts the mother at great risk. Additionally, Barrett is no friend to the LGBTQ+ community. She has misgendered trans women by calling them “psychological males”, and signed on to a letter which stated that marriage is the “indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman”, establishing her hostility to same-sex marriage. Moreover, Barrett is an originalist, which ultimately means she believes in the exclusion of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people from the rights written in the constitution. 

So far, all of her potential rulings and policies have been based on her religion. This is quite alarming, as that directly goes against her claim to originalism. If the constitution mentions the separation of church and state, she must adhere to that; otherwise, she is contradicting herself. 

In any case, the most important factor to take into consideration is qualification. Amy Coney Barrett has never tried a case, argued an appeal, or argued before the Supreme Court. In addition, she only became a judge in 2017. While it is true that Barrett has studied law and is qualified to practice, that does not and should not grant her a spot in the highest court in the country, no less to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Additionally, her confirmation hearings are extremely concerning to me. Barrett was unable to name the five freedoms protected by the first amendment. I am only in ninth grade, yet I am able to do so. Barrett treated her lack of common knowledge as a joke, which was even more alarming. Furthermore, she avoided a question regarding climate change and refused to acknowledge that the issue even exists. While I can understand why Barrett would refrain from sharing her political standpoint, stating that climate change exists is not a political opinion, it is science. 

Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed a mere week before the election. It is clear that Trump saw an opportunity and did what was best for him: form a conservative court in order to eradicate the Affordable Care Act, taking away the insurance of millions of Americans. Amy Coney Barrett has no place on the Supreme Court.