What Can Change With Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court?

Healthcare. Marriage equality. Reproductive rights.

These are only a small part of what’s at stake with Amy Coney Barrett as the new Supreme Court Justice. I’m scared, are you?

Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation has raised concerns between the American public; taking Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s spot, it’s clear that they both have very different takes on controversial topics such as women’s reproductive rights, marriage equality and healthcare. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg tragically passed away on September 18 of this year which led to uproar and confusion as to what this would mean for her empty seat on the Court. Despite opposition, President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett in replacement of Ginsburg, causing controversy among many as election season is upon us. 

His actions were a bit hypocritical seeing how in March 2016, Obama had nominated Merrick Garland to take the place of Antonin Scalia. But due to the fact that this occurred a few months before the 2016 election, Obama’s nomination was blocked by several Republicans. It was considered unacceptable that Obama would propose someone that would have a lasting effect on the court while he only had a few months left as President. However, these thoughts were discarded once President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett.

Amy Coney Barret was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 26, creating a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. Barrett is considered an originalist, meaning she interprets the Constitution as it was intended when written, disregarding how society has modernized and changed throughout time. Amy Coney Barrett is known for her conservative viewpoints as she revolves her opinions around her religious beliefs, disregarding the separation of church and state. For example, her opinions on abortion are very strong and many believe she will try everything in her power to overturn Roe v Wade, thus threatening reproductive rights. Amy Coney Barrett has also clearly signaled that she is against marriage equality. 

Many Democrats such as former President Barack Obama and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have suggested the idea of “packing the court” since there is an immense majority of Republicans in place on the Supreme Court right now. Packing the court is the concept of adding more Justices to the Supreme Court. At the moment there are nine justices but there have been as little as six justices in the past. The Constitution does not specify how many there should be, allowing Congress to add more justices if necessary. Adding more Democratic justices to the Supreme Court could help balance out the votes in important decisions and allow for a fair ruling with cases that could challenge others rights.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent 27 years on the Supreme Court fighting for equality and the rights of those who could not have their voice heard. Ginsburg excelled in her education, defying many sexist stereotypes, all the while struggling with her own health issues. Once Ginsburg was confirmed to the Senate she became the second woman Supreme Court justice, as well as the first Jewish female justice. 

During her 27 years she wrote the majority opinion for United States v. Virginia (1996), which held that the state supported Virginia Military Institute could not refuse to admit women. Ginsburg also gained attention for her famous dissenting opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that gutted the Voting Rights Act. She was historically the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate a same sex marriage wedding. She got nicknamed “The Notorious RBG” to symbolize her earned status as a pop culture hero, resulting in many books, movies and even memes created to emphasize her accomplishments throughout her career.

Moving forward, Amy Coney Barret’s place on the Supreme Court will negatively impact the generations to come, especially if she overturns former rulings made by others like Ginsburg. Amy Coney Barrett and Ruth Bader Ginsberg are polar opposites which creates a new challenge to Americans around the U.S. It is almost guaranteed that Amy Coney Barrett will close all the doors that Ginsburg opened. Most of these doors include basic human rights of the people of America and it’s genuinely scary that people’s rights have the potential to be stripped away. 

Despite our age, our future will be affected by this the most. The possibility that anyone could be put into a situation where they might need an abortion – would they be able to safely get one? Or would they be forced to seek dangerous ways to do so?  What if my gay best friend wants to get married, will she be able to? What if my family needs medical attention, will we be able to afford it? As much that this may sound harsh or discouraging, this is a reality we could now be facing and we need to begin to fight for our rights.