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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Amy Coney Barrett Threatens American Democracy

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in during the first day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS

With an extremely far right ideology and an inability to seperate church and state, Amy Coney Barrett is an imposing threat to the democracy and separation of church and state of the United States. She will replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and although an extra seat in the Supreme Court doesn’t sound like a big difference, that liberal seat has been the reason for many key decisions in the past, such as preserving the Affordable Care Act, DACA, and women’s reproductive rights. Although it seems that her arrival in the Supreme Court is inevitable, it’s important to note how large the scale of her impact will be on America. 

Looking over Barret’s record, her outlook on politics becomes very clear. At a conference in front of law students at Notre Dame, Barret said that “a legal career is but a means to an end, and that end is building the Kingdom of God”. Her statement implies that she’s less concerned with upholding the law to be fair for all, and more concerned with spreading her own personal religious values  in America through her decisions in the Supreme Court. After endorsing the court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, when questioned about Obergefell v. Hodges, the court’s 2015 decision that made same sex marriage legal, Barret refused to say whether she supported the case, or whether it was fairly decided. Barret has also written about the “barbaric legacy of Roe v Wade”, and has said that she will try to do whatever she can to repeal it if given the opportunity. 

She’s very clearly a far-right Catholic whose main goal is to impose her religious faith in politics, which is inherently against popular sovereignty and democracy, as she doesn’t adequately represent the will of the people of the United States. Only 20 percent of Americans identify as catholic, and only 33 percent of Americans want to overturn Roe v. Wade, so her opinions aren’t a true representation of current American values. 

Another important factor to note is her complete incompetence and lack of previous legal experience. She’s only been a judge since 2017, and has never argued an appeal, or argued before the Supreme Court.

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However, her threat to America goes beyond a misrepresentation of values and lack of experience, Barret is a direct threat to democracy. When asked about Miranda rights (the law that makes officers have to read you your rights while arrested), Barret said, “[T]he Miranda doctrine, which inevitably excludes from evidence even some confessions freely given, is an example” of “the court’s choice to over-enforce a constitutional norm by developing prophylactic doctrines that go beyond constitutional meaning”. One of her most shocking decisions as a judge was in the sexual assault case of Martin v. Milwaukee County, where she went against a jury’s verdict to give the victim a settlement of $6.7 million. In the case, a police guard had repeatedly sexually assaulted a woman in custody, including while she was pregnant and after giving birth. She decided that the district was not to be held liable, and argued the crime was not “within the scope of employment,” because sexual contact with incarcerated people is illegal in Milwaukee county. 

Amy Coney Barrett is not just a typical conservative or Catholic: she’s very much a theocratic reactionary who goes against the core values of modern America and is about as far right a judge as America has had in its history. Amy Coney Barret is also likely to be a judge for 30 or more years,as she is currently only 48 and Supreme Court justices serve for life. The repercussions of her far-right politics could have dire consequences for America’s democracy.

By Federico Opertti

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