Home National OPINION: Civil Liberties Chatroom — Rushed Supreme Court nomination signals trouble for civil liberties

OPINION: Civil Liberties Chatroom — Rushed Supreme Court nomination signals trouble for civil liberties

6 min read

Katie Gold is a junior in communication studies. She is a member of the ACLU of Ohio University. The following article reflects the views and opinions of the author and does not represent the thoughts of the ACLU of Ohio University, the ACLU of Ohio or the ACLU. 

This is a submitted column. Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

Despite the national backlash, the Senate vetting process of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett took place over the last week. 

While there have been many frustrating situations surrounding her nomination, we need to come to a reckoning — Amy Coney Barrett had no problem getting confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate less than two weeks before a highly contested presidential election.

This makes Barrett the third Supreme Court justice in just four years to have been hand-picked by the president and the Senate. This pick, however, is consequential for a host of reasons. 

In spite of the wishes of her predecessor, Barrett’s confirmation solidifies a conservative court for decades to come. The hypocrisy that her nomination was pushed through during a pandemic and national election, however, cannot be understated. We need to analyze what is at stake with her nomination.

Barrett’s confirmation gives the Supreme Court a 6-3 majority conservative advantage, and her record on lower courts and previous rulings indicate that she is willing to compromise civil rights in order to hold her constitutional “originalist” view. This should scare people. 

Important civil rights that have been fought for over the last century are at risk with Barrett confirmed. 

Just in this upcoming cycle, she could be the deciding vote to tear apart the Affordable Care Act and rip healthcare away from over 20 million Americans in the middle of a pandemic. She could be the deciding vote on whether undocumented immigrants can be counted in redistricting in 2022. She could be the deciding vote in overturning or weakening Roe v. Wade, abortion access, birth control and in vitro fertilization. 

This month, justices Alito and Thomas voiced that they disagree on the ruling of the landmark decision that gave the LGBTQ community the right to marry. Barrett’s potential confirmation would give a conservative majority to potentially weaken equality laws for the LGBTQ community. 

While it may seem like many of these potential civil rights crises mentioned are too popular to be overturned, the court has been actively chipping away at many essential civil rights, like the ones above. 

The ACLU has three pillars it works toward: litigation, education and lobbying. It is one of the largest civil rights litigation organizations in the country and appears in front of the Supreme Court more than any other organization. 

We do not know what the future holds for the Supreme Court. There was little citizens could do to oppose Barrett’s confirmation in a Senate that refuses to listen to their constituents. While that might not be the most comforting thing to hear, you can trust that the ACLU will defend your civil rights and do whatever they can in their power to protect them. 

In the end, Barrett’s nomination and confirmation make one thing crystal clear: elections matter.

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