Katrina Merva '22
As we all know, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
have pushed for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be nominated to the Supreme Court to replace
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is a strong, broadly respected conservative voice who has
taught at Notre Dame and also clerked on the Supreme Court. In 2016, Mitch McConnell
justified blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee by stating that in the event that a member of the Supreme Court dies during an election season, there should be no replacement until a new president is installed. However, almost immediately after RBG’s passing, he was instantly pushing for a replacement.
This apparent hypocrisy was not accidental. He did this because it is very important to his
and the president’s monetary interests to keep a Republican majority in the Supreme Court.
Barrett is expected to rule very conservatively across the board, as most of her opinions are
known to be based in religion and in interpreting the Constitution by what it says, word for word. This means her views on abortion, gun control, and other issues will line up primarily with those Trump or McConnell would hold.
McConnell wants someone in the Supreme Court like this so that his (and the rest of the
GOP’s) biggest sponsors, such as the NRA and the Right to Life movement, will donate more to
their campaigns. With a majority Republican Court, many rulings that would be supported by
their financial backers (e.g. the overturning of Roe. V Wade) would be made and would lead to
McConnell’s campaign receiving even more money and therefore even more power.
In addition, the rulings she is expected to make could be catastrophic for some groups in
American society. The overturning of Roe v. Wade would mean at least 1/3 of American women
would lose their access to safe and healthy abortions. Before the ruling, 1/6 of abortions in
America were self-performed and had a high risk of injury to the woman and were in some cases fatal. In states where abortion is legal, it is considered one of the safest procedures and is
completely successful over 99% of the time. A woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body should be an unalienable and indisputable right. Even with the overturn of Roe Wade, abortions would still be performed, but the illegality of them would make them a bigger health risk. Trump and McConnell have been trying to overturn the ruling for a while and appointed Barrett because her views indicated that she would do just that.
Her promise to abide by the Constitution word for word and her opinions on stare decisis also bring other potential rulings into question. The rulings for which RGB fought, such as the
right for same-sex couples to marry, affirmative action at colleges and universities, and anti-
gender discrimination laws, could be at risk. Barrett’s commitment to originalism and sticking
with solely traditional and Christian views puts these rulings of essential human rights at risk.
For these reasons, I believe that McConnell should stick to what he said in 2016 and not support the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
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