Barrett’s rushed Supreme Court nomination shows the issues with our democracy

Serena Zuniga, Multimedia Editor

On Oct. 26, the United States Senate changed the course of American history by confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in one of the fastest nomination proceedings in modern history.

Graphic by Serena Zuniga – Multimedia Editor

Justice Barrett was confirmed in a 52-48 vote, a vote nearly split down party lines with the exception of “Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who… was the only GOP senator to cross party lines and vote with Democrats against the nomination after having expressed concerns that it’s too close to Election Day to consider a nominee,” CNN reported

Barrett’s confirmation is also controversial because of her originalist reading of the constitution and conservative personal views as well as the proximity of her nomination to the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

As I watch our country battle for party supremacy, I have to wonder if this confirmation is appropriate. The political divide in our country has never been deeper and the opportunity for change is fast approaching.

With an election approaching, I can’t condone the confirmation of a new justice.

The problem I see is not just with Justice Barrett, but also the means in which she was appointed and confirmed.

There is something unethical about rushing a woman in to replace someone who had broken so many barriers to allow women to even have a place on the court.

Justice Barrett’s views are so contradictory to Justice Ginsberg’s, which is disrespectful to those whose lives were positively impacted by Ginsberg’s case law.

According to CNN, Barrett’s confirmation gives conservatives a 6-3 majority on the court and also brings issues like the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade into question.

As a young woman in the United States, there is nothing scarier than the uncertainty of my rights. Barrett, who identifies as an originalist, has said she will interpret the constitution as the authors intended it. However, that is hard to believe when looking at the conservative beliefs she has voiced in the past.

Garrett Mueller, a California Lutheran University political science alumnus and former intern for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), said he believes Barrett’s future decisions may go against what the majority of the public believes.

“I would at least like judges to reflect the public’s thinking, and not this thinking of a bunch of white men who wrote the Constitution in 1787,” Mueller said. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg was someone who thought of the Constitution, really, as a living document.”

A prominent argument against Justice Barrett’s nomination was that she was underqualified for the position. According to BBC, Barrett “spent just three years on the bench as a federal appeals court judge, following a long career as a law professor.”

This argument, while valid, is often reiterated by those who do not fully understand Barrett’s beliefs and past.

I don’t believe that everyone who has criticized her has actually taken the time to learn anything about her. Being politically active must include being informed and not just repeating what you think people want to hear.

Haco Hoang, professor and chair of the Political Science Department at Cal Lutheran, said it’s more important to look at how Barrett will interpret law than to just focus on her qualifications.

“I mean, I think spending time on whether she has or doesn’t have enough experience is to me a fruitless endeavor,” Hoang said. “And this is where I’m saying it becomes about style and not substance that I get really frustrated with. But I know that you know, people don’t want to read it. People don’t want to read her case law. It’s easy to just say she’s not qualified.”

Barrett’s confirmation also brings the number of justices on the Supreme Court into question since there is potential for presidential candidate Joe Biden to pack the court to take away the Republican majority if he wins the 2020 election. Doing this would be a controversial move that is sure to become a catalyst for protests and opposition if it does occur.

Senior President of the Political Science Society at Cal Lutheran Hannah Nandor said she believes packing the court is “a dangerous game.”

“It’s just going to be a constant back and forth and a struggle for power,” Nandor said. “I think that packing the court is going to take away from our country’s unity and we are already struggling with being unified and there’s so much tension and divide between party lines. I think packing the court just adds to that, regardless of what party is trying to do it.”

I see potential problems with politicians taking advantage of packing the court, but through this entire situation I think it’s become more evident than ever before that reform is necessary across our three branches of government.

Yes, presidents may take advantage of this in the future, but isn’t it more important to question why we allow nine people to make rulings and decisions for our country until their death?

There is a huge amount of uncertainty about the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. According to BBC, if Biden wins the election, he said “he would appoint a bipartisan commission to study whether an overhaul of the judiciary was necessary.”

Justice Barrett has a long future ahead of her as a justice that will ultimately shape the future of the U.S.

This is an unprecedented time in this country, so it is more important than ever to remain informed and politically active.