Republicans have succeeded in appointing Amy Coney Barrett as the ninth justice of the United States Supreme Court.
She was sworn in the White House by Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday night. The event was marked with social distancing guidelines and encouragement to wear face masks.
The Senate voted on Barrett’s nomination earlier the same day. The vote was finalized at 52-48. Almost all Senate Republicans voted in favor of Barrett’s nomination, except Governor Susan Collins (R-ME), the only member of the Republican party not to endorse Barrett. In a statement on her personal website, she cites Barrett’s nomination as a form of political manipulation by her political party.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election… I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” Collins wrote. “The decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
All Democrats in the Senate opposed the nomination for various reasons, the top likely being they do not want a large conservative majority in the Court, as it now stands 6-3 with Barrett. Controversial issues such as abortion and the Affordable Care Act may be judged towards the conservative opinions. Progressive viewpoints are feared to be ignored in the new Supreme Court.
The presidential election is less than two weeks away, and many Democrats agree with Collins, complaining that the Republican urgence to nominate Barrett was political manipulation. They believe American citizens should be responsible for selecting a new Supreme Court nominee by electing a president. If Trump wins, he should have nominated Barrett after the election ended, they say. If Biden wins, he should be the one to nominate another Justice.
No matter where a person stands regarding Barrett’s nomination, it’s being implied that citizens from both sides will be more motivated to vote in-person or by mail. A conservative can argue that Trump’s successful third judicial nomination may indicate the start of support for individual rights and more “personal choice.”
Barrett has been known for her pro-life stances. Now that she's a Supreme Court Justice, abortion’s chance of being restricted will likely augment because of a conservative majority. People who struggle to pay for insurance premiums will now be able to maintain their insurance expenses, should the Affordable Care Act be repealed. If conservatives want to ensure support for these changes, they need to put their vote toward Trump.
For progressives, Barrett’s ascent to the Supreme Court is a preview of the consequences that can happen should people decide to vote for Trump. Reproductive rights could be at stake. People living on the poverty line will have their medical insurance stripped from the Affordable Care Act being overturned. Therefore, it is necessary for individuals opposed to such events to vote for Joe Biden, who currently has a leading chance to win the presidential election.
Whatever political spectrum a person is affiliated with, this election is one of the most crucial ones in U.S. history. People who either like or dislike the current administration can have their voices heard by voting.