President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. She will potentially fill the vacancy left after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away earlier this month.
Barret, 48, is currently a United States Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Barrett was nominated to that position by President Trump in November of 2017. Eleven months later, she was added to the administration’s shortlist of candidates for potential Supreme Court vacancies.
Her nomination sparked controversy because of how close it is to the upcoming presidential election on November 3. In 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held no hearings or votes on Garland’s nomination.
Despite setting this precedent, McConnell has confirmed he will be supporting Barrett’s nomination.
“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court,” McConnell said in a press release.
“It’s certainly not a surprise that Mitch McConnell would be hypocritical. He has shown in the past that he has no respect for the rules,” Zack Lawry, a sophomore political science major, said. “It’s blatantly obvious that in 2016 the rule that a Justice could not be appointed on an election year was just an excuse to block Barack Obama from appointing a liberal Justice to the Supreme Court.”
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican, has also announced that he will be supporting Barret’s confirmation, despite objecting to Garland’s nomination in 2016.
“I am pleased that President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. I look forward to reviewing Judge Barrett’s record further in the coming weeks and speaking with her soon as I consider her nomination,” Toomey said.
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat, has expressed disapproval for Barrett’s nomination, citing McConnell’s objections to Garland’s nomination in 2016.
“Consistent with the precedent set by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2016, Justice Ginsburg’s seat should not be filled until the presidential election concludes and the candidate chosen by voters is sworn into office,” Casey said.
Casey fears that Barrett could potentially cast a deciding vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, something that would kick 23 million Americans off of their health insurance.
“President Trump and Senator McConnell are rushing to confirm a Supreme Court Justice who will back their lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act, kicking 23 million people off their health insurance, ending protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions and raising costs for millions more, in the middle of a pandemic.” Casey said. “Voters across the country are already casting their ballots in this presidential election, and the right thing to do for our country is to allow the winner to nominate a successor to Justice Ginsburg.”
“Any Justice that Donald Trump would appoint would obviously vote to abolish the Affordable Care Act. That’s obviously his goal. He only wants to undo the legacy of President Obama and will appoint anyone willing to help him achieve that mission,” Lawrey said.