By Allison Margolin and Jenna Rompel (Margolin & Lawrence Attorneys at Law)
The vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett is set to go ahead this evening. With a current vote of 51 to 48 with Republicans pulling ahead it appears Judge Barrett is set to be confirmed to take a seat on the Supreme Court. An unusual circumstance to hold a Supreme Court nomination during a pivotal presidential election in the midst of a worldwide pandemic is certainly a fascinating trifecta for any political junkie, but the reality is far more disheartening for Americans living with the forthcoming shadow of what may come if Republicans win the vote. In the unlikely event of a tie Vice President Pence would cast the deciding vote for the nomination stating he “wouldn’t miss it for the world” while Democrats are opposed to Pence being present at the vote. Having tested positive for the Coronavirus his attendance is not only irresponsible by threatening to expose others to the virus but unnecessary as his role is purely “ceremonial” rather than essential.
With the rapidly approaching 2020 Presidential election politics opinions of the Democratic Left and the Conservative Right seem to be more divided than ever in recent history. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a political pawn with Republicans and Democrats fighting over shutdowns threatening commerce and undermining safety concerns. A common ground on both sides appears to agree that a Supreme Court Judge should not be appointed during an election year. South Carolina Senator and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsay Graham supports the so-called “Biden Rule” of current presidential nominee Joe Biden that a Supreme Court Justice should wait to be decided after the election. The nomination has stalled critical discussions on a second stimulus package for COVID-19 relief with American workers and laborers being hit the hardest by more delays. Disregarded by Republican leaders to help support American families and citizens with a second stimulus package for essential needs such as rent and groceries. Regardless, Judge Barrett is set to be confirmed on the Supreme Court today. With only a week left before the election President Trump is ignoring the consensus of the “Biden Rule” by moving forward with his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to take the seat of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Democrats are vehemently opposed to the decision citing the confirmation of Judge Barrett would bring damage to “health care, reproductive freedoms, the ability to vote, and other core rights that Americans cherish.”
Judge Barrett has unabashedly expressed her opposition on abortion “immoral” voting against abortion rights in the past in her role as an appeals court judge. Her confirmation into the Supreme Court will not only shift the Court to a 6-3 majority but may just be the catalyst for President Trump’s agenda to overturn Roe v. Wade. With a Conservative majority on the Supreme Court abortion politics just might become the next “War on Drugs” by infringing women’s reproductive rights and access to safe abortions. Women of low socio-economic status and those living below the poverty line who are already impacted by limited access to health care will be the most affected. The ending result being more unintended pregnancies and continuation of generations unable to support their means and “back alley” illegal abortions which can lead to serious health risks and even death of the mother.
Abortion in the United States was legal until the 19th century when the falling birth rates among white women and rising birth rates among immigrants began to threaten the social makeup of the country. Activists and lawmakers anxious the country would become overpopulated by “others” felt maternity should be enforced by white Protestant women. Even with the enactment of anti-abortion laws prosperous white women or women of “virtue” remained to have access to safe abortions.
Protection of women’s reproductive rights is not the only concern resulting in the looming confirmation of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court. Judge Barrett believes a person’s voting rights should be limited to “virtuous citizens”. She argues citizens must prove their “virtue” in order to participate in political rights and be eligible to vote in United States elections. The notion of “virtuous citizens” goes back to a Jim Crow era systematically disenfranchising people of color, women, and people with disabilities of their voting rights. Following the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments the right to vote was rescinded by expanding “criminal disenfranchisement” to keep people of color out of the ballot box. A dog whistle for the KKK Barrett intends to use “virtue” to advance the agenda for religious (white) elites as seen in her confirmation hearings. A familiar rhetoric expressed by former employer Antonin Scalia whom she clerked for, Barrett intends to implement “originalism” in the Supreme Court, a judicial philosophy that believes judges should apply the meaning of the law based on its supposed meaning when it was first written in 1787. The obvious issue with this notion is it leaves no room for interpretation or room for ethical, moral, or political growth and those in power “pick and choose” which laws to follow.
Just one week after the presidential election in November the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which could drastically impact LGBTQ rights. With Judge Barrett on the court those not on the side of “virtue” may start to see the beginnings of dwindlings of personal liberty fought so hard to achieve, and national pride, the very backbone of our country was founded. So far, over 47.1 million citizens have cast their vote early for the upcoming presidential election one can only wonder how many are considered “virtuous” by Judge Barrett’s standards? With a week left until the election it’s more important than ever for every citizen to exercise their political rights to vote and decide our nation’s leaders and political objectives we want the country to uphold.
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