Trump’s Nominee to Take Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Seat: Amy Coney Barrett

By Lelani Williamson

President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to take recently deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s open seat on the Supreme Court. Trump stated that Barrett is a “woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.” Barrett, elected by Trump in 2017, is an appeals court judge for the Seventh Circuit. She is also a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School where she teaches classes on constitutional law, the federal courts, and statutory interpretation. Barrett is a devout Catholic and a proven conservative. In the past, she has served as a clerk for former Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court, and was a previous candidate to fill a seat on the Supreme Court after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired (a seat that went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh). 

In regards to her opinions and interpretations, Barrett is a textualist and originalist. She is pro-life and has been involved with Faculty for Life, Notre Dame’s anti-abortion group. Although she has stated that it is unlikely the ruling of Roe v. Wade would be overturned, critics still believe that she intends to overturn the ruling that legalized abortions. Barrett was also the one person that disagreed with a decision to prohibit a felon from possessing a firearm, stating that “founding legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons.” She also declared that she would not be beholden to the doctrine of stare decisions. This doctrine asks the court to follow the precedents set in similar cases, but she has made it clear that she will “enforce her understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent.” Additionally, Barrett has been involved with organizations such as the American Law Institute and the Federalist Society, which advocate for textualist and originalist interpretations of the United States Constitution.

As a candidate, Barrett has been met with both support and disapproval. Feminists and the community of Democrats are making it clear that they don’t want Amy Coney Barret to replace women’s right activist and liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Women all around the world view Ginsburg as a “feminist icon,” leaving the person chosen to take her seat big shoes to fill. However, some people don’t think Barrett will fill these shoes the proper way. Law professor Lara Bazelon stated that “the next Supreme Court justice will cast crucial votes that affect women’s fundamental rights, including the right to control their own bodies and to gain access to affordable health care for themselves and their families. The fact that President Trump’s nominee is a woman matters less if she does not support the causes at the heart of the long, continuing march for gender equality that Justice Ginsburg championed.” Senator Kamala Harris has also stated her opinion on the matter, saying that Barrett “will undo (Ginsburg’s) life’s work.” 

Although Barrett has some who don’t agree with her nomination, Conservatives believe she is the perfect candidate. President of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said that “she is the perfect combination of a brilliant jurist and a woman who brings the argument to the court that is potentially contrary to the views of the sitting women justices.” Along with Marjorie, law professor Jonathan H. Adler has stated his views that “as a scholar and a judge, she has shown herself to be a very careful and deliberate thinker who is concerned with getting the right answer, whether or not it’s the popular answer.” They see Barrett as someone who will add to the court with her unique views and perspective. 

No matter what way people view Amy Coney Barrett, her confirmation process is set to begin on October 12th. She has spent the past few weeks meeting with Senators ahead of her confirmation hearings. As Trump has tested positive for coronavirus, Barrett has been taking safety precautions to ensure that she, nor anyone else, will obtain the virus so that they can proceed with her confirmation process happening over the next few weeks. 

The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By: Celia Pope

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of America’s greatest female political leaders. 

Ginsburg spent her life pushing through years of adversity and served for thirteen years on the Supreme Court, successfully fighting against gender discrimination and attempting to unify the liberal block of the court, as well as breaking many barriers of unfair gender-based legislations. Sadly, on September 18, 2020, Ginsburg passed away after a long, hard battle with pancreatic cancer. Though her death left the nation in shock and sorrow, we can’t help but realize what an amazing legacy she left behind and how much Ginsburg changed. She not only caused an entire societal transformation, but altered the way America would look at the world forever.

After pushing through years of adversity and struggles with money and her mother’s death, Ruth Bader became Ruth Bader Ginsburg after marrying her husband Martin, and had her first child. Soon after she began her studies at Harvard, her husband was diagnosed with cancer, which, though caring for her husband and maintaining her position at top of the class posed a challenge, never deterred her academic excellence at the school. The struggles of motherhood and having to face extreme discrimination from being in a male-dominated class, even from the highest authorities, began to push her limits. However, being the persister she was, Ginsburg pushed on and not only graduated from Harvard and served as the first female member of the Harvard Law Review, but also went on to do the same at Columbia University and graduated top of her class once more in 1959.

After years of working as a clerk and searching unsuccessfully for a fair job at a firm, she decided to follow her other passion and joined the Columbia Project on International Civil Procedure. During this time, she lived abroad in Sweden to research for her book on Swedish social procedures. Upon her return in 1963, she was hired as a professor at Rutgers University Law School, a position she held until accepting an offer to teach at Columbia in 1972. Ginsburg also directed the influential Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union during the 1970s. In this position, she led the fight against gender discrimination and successfully argued six landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg took a broad look at gender discrimination, fighting not just for the women left behind, but for the men who were discriminated against as well. After serving for the U.S. Court of Appeals for thirteen years, Ginsburg was finally appointed by Bill Clinton to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career as a justice where she left off as an advocate: fighting for women’s rights. In her years as a Justice, she did many incredible things, such as writing the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, holding that qualified women could not be denied admission to Virginia Military Institute. Instead of creating sweeping limitations on gender discrimination, she attacked specific areas of discrimination and violations of women’s rights one at a time, so as to send a message to the legislatures on what they can and cannot do. Ginsburg did not shy away from giving pointed guidance when she felt the need, even in situations such as helping Obama write his first legislation, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. 

According to Oyez.com, “Until her death on September 18, 2020, Ginsburg worked with a personal trainer in the Supreme Court’s exercise room, and for many years could lift more than both Justices Breyer and Kagan.” Ginsburg never missed a day of oral arguments until 2018, not even when she was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, after colon cancer surgery, or the day of her husband’s death. Ginsburg relentlessly proved that she was a force to be reckoned with; anyone who doubted her ability to effectively complete her judicial duties would just have to look at her oral argument records to see that she was among the most avid questionnaires on the bench. Ginsburg was an inspiration to all people around the world and was living proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover. If you look inside her book, you could find one of the most relentless social justice warriors in political history.