Supreme Court Shakeup

The Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett

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Gina Bernstein

2020 has been many thingslong, painful, and disease ridden. There are a lot of adjectives that  could describe  2020, though one seems more fitting than all the others: controversial. We have seen politics in its fiercest demeanor, not only due to it being an election year, but also thanks to the numerous crises our nation has faced. It is here where we find an officially complete Senate confirmation of now Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. However, the story of Amy Coney Barrett’s ascension to the highest court in the land is riddled with both controversy and division.

Barrett’s story begins in the 1990’s where, after graduating from Notre Dame Law School,  she entered the political world, working as a judicial clerk under Laurence Silberman in the US Court of Appeals. She later graduated to work under Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2017, after Donald Trump’s unprecedented victory in the 2016 Presidential Election, she was nominated to serve in the US Court of Appeals in the Seventh Circuit. Her nomination went fairly smoothly, though many pro-LGBTQ+ groups opposed her confirmation into the court due to her traditionalist beliefs. 

In September of 2020, after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court needed a replacement. As the job fell onto the president to find and nominate someone to fill that position, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, spurring immediate controversy. 

Barrett has been known to hold very traditionalist beliefs with regard to societal problems, being anti-abortion and anti-universal healthcare. This has caused much concern over her confirmation due to the possibility that she may attempt to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US, made by the Supreme Court back in 1973. This potential action has created much outrage over Barrett’s confirmation hearings, with protests and detractors on Twitter expressing outrage at her nomination.

This, however, is likely not the end of Roe v. Wade. Because of the legal principle of precedence, it is customary for most Justices, and even lower officials like judges or clerks, to not overrule laws that have already been decided on. Barrett would be subject to this custom just as anyone else, which eliminates any realistic chance for the overruling of Roe v. Wade.

As of Oct. 26, 2020, the US Senate has announced that they have officially confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the position of Supreme Court Justice. Despite the large controversy surrounding her nomination and confirmation, she has risen to the highest court in America, and will likely serve on that court for the rest of her life.