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Point/Counterpoint: New Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett

By TEAGAN MERRIMAN and MAGGIE MEDVETZ

Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to Supreme Court could be detrimental to Americans

TEAGAN MERRIMAN: As of Monday, October 26, Amy Coney Barrett has officially been confirmed to the Supreme Court just eight days before the general election.  Barrett’s confirmation raises many issues involving not only political precedents but moral debates as well.

Following the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, who was regarded as a moderate and was well respected by Republicans and Democrats alike, to fill the vacancy.  However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that any appointments made by Obama would be null and void and that the vacancy should be filled by the winner of the 2016 election, which would occur eight months after Garland’s nomination.

This time around, though, McConnell shamelessly exhibited blatant hypocrisy and was quick to support Barrett’s nomination only eight days before the election, stating: “This will be the hardest fight of my life.”

Brooke Johnson, a junior, noted, “I, in fact, do support the nomination of Justice Barrett.  Article II Section 2 Clause 2 of the Constitution states that the sitting president is responsible for the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice; and regardless of if the sitting president wins or loses the election, he is still the president until January 3. We must respect the office held.”  

In 2016, McConnell, among other senators, exemplified an overt disregard for what is clearly outlined in the Constitution.  The precedent should have been set, but Senate Republicans are seemingly only willing to uphold the Constitution when it fits their agenda.  

Barrett’s confirmation doubtlessly skews the court, now making the partisan majority conservative.  Unquestionably, this is a huge convenience for Trump, who is in jeopardy of losing the upcoming election to Democrat Joe Biden.  This sneaky play by Trump could extend the representation of his conservative agenda in the courts for years to come.

Although Barrett has consistently made claims that her rulings will be free of personal bias, many Americans see her beliefs and values as a potential threat.  Sophomore Abbie Huey stated, “I am just concerned for the changes that will be made in major landmark cases.  Many rulings have been made 5-4, and she could change past decisions.  Her decisions could affect us for many generations, seeing as Supreme Court justices serve for life, and she is only 48.”

Judge Barrett notoriously belongs to the religious group People of Praise, where, according to the New York Times,  traditional gender roles are strictly enforced and heterosexuality is stressed with the utmost importance.  Her children also attend a school whose handbook states that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. 

Following her enrollment in a constitutional criminal procedure course while studying law at Notre Dame, Barrett notably said, “But I found myself as I read more and more cases becoming more and more convinced that the opinions that I read that took the originalist approach were right.”  Originalism refers to an interpretation of the Constitution according to its meaning when it was adopted in 1787.  How can Americans expect competency and representation in a continuously changing political climate while their justices pledge to rule as if it is the 18th century? 

In 2016, President Trump vowed to appoint judges who would vote to overturn the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade.  While a professor at Notre Dame, Judge Barrett joined an anti-abortion faculty group.  Additionally, in a lecture to students, she made the statement that she believes that life begins at the moment of conception.  Her history is very telling and may potentially prove to be contrary to her claims of bipartisanism.     

Huey continued, “Gay marriage, which has only recently been legalized, could get overruled again.  Even Roe v. Wade, which is very important to some women, could be overturned.  That is a right that would really affect the women of our country if it were to be taken away from us.”

Students at IHS could further be affected by the potential repealing of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.  Conservatives, like Barrett, who have historically disapproved of any role of government in healthcare, largely dislike the ACA.  However, the repealing of the Affordable Care Act would force many students 18 or older to find and pay for their own private health insurance.  Students would be forced to either pay the exorbitant price of health insurance themselves or find a full-time job that provides health insurance as a benefit.

Senior Ethan Black has similar concerns.  “With Justice Barrett, I do worry just a bit if I’ll be able to afford health insurance after I graduate.  I’ll be in college and most likely limited to time if I want a job, so relying on my parents’ health plan will be important,” Black noted.

Optimism is important to many; however, as America faces a new Supreme Court Justice.  “I have high hopes for Barrett, though.  I believe if we use our voices, she’ll hear us out since she is very young for being a justice,” Black concluded.

 

Amy Coney Barrett a fine choice for Supreme Court

MAGGIE MEDVETZ: Election seasons are filled with all sorts of twists and turns that determine how different events throughout the country will play out. 

One of these twists is the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court after much opposition from the left and Democratic party.

Nominated to be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor, Barrett has faced serious opposition from the left for her conservative views on abortion, health care, and gun control.  As a self-described faithful Catholic, Barrett’s faith is also under question because many people believe that this may influence her rulings.

Barrett, despite the assumptions about her faith and views, has defended her abilities to rule fairly without her own personal preferences.

When going through the confirmation process in 2017, into the U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Barrett stated that she believes that if there were to be a question between “personal conviction and that judge’s duty under rule of law, that is never ever permissible for that judge to follow their personal convictions in the decision of a case rather than what the law requires.”

“I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law,” continued Barrett.

This statement holds great value to many citizens of the United States because the opposite is seen far too often.

Junior Mackenzie Mcgee noted, “Amy Coney Barrett will uphold the Constitution and base her decisions on the rule of the law. To quote Coney Barrett, ‘I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independently of both political branches and of my own preferences.’”

In addition to objections to these views, many people believe that a new Supreme Court Justice should not be installed until after the presidential election on November 3.

“There are many leftists that do not want her appointed solely because they do not support President Trump,” regarded junior Hope Cook.  “They also do not like Barrett because she sticks to her ground and her beliefs are strong.”

In spite of all of these hostilities, Barrett was officially sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday, October 27th.  Many Americans are eager to see all that she has to positively offer our country.

“Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment will impact most of my peers, and the nation as a whole greatly,” explained senior, Anakin Leydic.  “We will have a judge that interprets the constitution as it is written, not passing radical policies like the left want.  But rather fulfilling the actual role of a Supreme Court Justice; protecting civil rights and liberties by striking down laws that violate the constitution.”

Conservative voters also will come to appreciate Barrett’s appointment as she displays not only conservative beliefs, but also will stand her ground under pressure from opposing views.

Cook also noted, “This will positively impact the United States and the Supreme Court by putting someone in place who consistently, and with correct reasoning, votes conservatively.  Year after year, we have seen Republican justices get persuaded to the left and not hold their ground.”

Yet another positive effect Barrett will have on the Supreme Court is being a strong female leader with devotion to her country and knowledge of the Constitution.

“Barrett’s Supreme Court appointment impacts me and my peers by providing us with an exemplary female role model,” stated Mcgee.  “Her intelligence and character speak volumes of how hard work, devotion, and determination will open doors to opportunities and greatness.  When one is facing adversity in this world, he or she could not only hope that they would be able to represent themselves as eloquently and intelligently as Justice Barrett.”

A determined mindset and the ability to hold ground under pressure are not all that Barrett has to offer, however; she also has the experience and devotion needed to execute this job well.

“She has an outstanding record behind herself,” continued Leydic.  “She has extensive experience including serving as a judicial clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, and also as a judge on the Seventh Circuit. Also, her colleagues at Notre Dame signed a letter in 2017 supporting her appointment to the Seventh Circuit touting that she was ‘a model of the fair, impartial and sympathetic judge.’”

Mcgee also mentioned that “She is extremely qualified with her abundant knowledge of the Constitution and having graduated number one in her class at the School of Law at Notre Dame.”

The left may have resistance to Justice Barrett, but that does not take away her strong character, knowledge, or devotion to the United States.

“From the day of her appointment, Americans can rest assured that their rights, beliefs, and freedoms they enjoy, will never be infringed upon during Amy Coney Barrett’s tenure as a justice,” concluded Leydic.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 26: U.S. President Donald Trump stands with newly sworn in U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett during a ceremonial swearing-in event on the South Lawn of the White House October 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Senate confirmed Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court today by a vote of 52-48. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

 

 

Teagan Merriman

Reporter

Teagan is a senior and first-year reporter for the High Arrow.  She enjoys playing volleyball at IHS and is also a member of the diving and lacrosse teams.  She is excited to be writing for the High Arrow this year.

Maggie Medvetz

Reporter

Maggie is a senior and first-year reporter for the High Arrow.  She enjoys playing tennis for the high school and being part of the IHS dance team.  She is excited to start reporting for the High Arrow.