OPINION: One Step Forward is Another Two Steps Backward

On October 26, 2020, Judge Amy Coney Barrett took the constitutional oath to become America’s 5th female Supreme Court Justice, and I am scared.

The vote was 52-48, and was the first unanimous vote from the Senate Democrats since the 1800s, which goes to show how strongly they felt about keeping Barrett out of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.

With the presidential election only 6 days away, this rushed Supreme Court justice confirmation was the Trump administration’s feeble attempt at retaining some power in the event President Trump does not win re-election.

I find it appalling how Senator Mitch McConnell declined President Obama’s request to appoint a new Supreme Court justice in 2016 when there were months before he left office, and just days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, approved President Trump’s nominee. The hypocrisy is truly appalling to me.

It was even RBG’s dying wish to not have her seat filled before the election, and McConnell brushed it off, instead focusing on his own interests and approving a very conservative judge who would tilt the scale in the Supreme court.

With Judge Barrett’s confirmation, the conservatives hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, which will have dramatic implications on the decisions made in the near future.

Barrett is a stark contrast to Ginsburg, the two are almost complete opposites, yet Barrett would not be where she is today if it weren’t for everything Ginsburg did throughout her career to get women one step closer to equality with men. 

I fear with Barrett’s confirmation into the Supreme Court, the rights for women in America will be pushed two steps back.

Barrett is a key advantage to the Republican party as they now hold power in both the Senate and the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act is set to be on trial in a couple of weeks and with Barrett as a justice, could do some serious damage to it. 

That would mean the loss of healthcare for millions of Americans, ones especially with pre-existing conditions.

The Affordable Care Act has been argued to be unconstitutional because of the law’s individual mandate. But what some Republicans might not understand is that the ACA provides insurance plans for those with pre-existing conditions, birth control methods, mental health and substance abuse services, and many other protections and rights. 

It is truly an affordable way for people in the working class to have access to healthcare, and if it is taken away, would leave millions without medical insurance or protection.

I fear that if the ACA is declared unconstitutional with the help of Justice Barrett, things will only go downhill from there. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but the lives of every American will change.

And whether she admits it or not, Barrett’s religious views do impact her decisions. As a devout Catholic, Barrett lets her beliefs sway her on her decisions on same-sex marriage, LGBTQIA+ rights, and abortion. 

In my opinion, religion should never play a part in government as it is explicitly stated in the Constitution’s first amendment. 

America is made up of a variety of different cultures, races, and ethnicities, yet there has never been a Hindu president, a Muslim president. Or a Jewish president. Why?

“Half of all American adults say it’s important for a president to share their religious beliefs,” a survey by the Pew Research Center found. Throughout American history up until recently, the majority of voters have been white and Christian, therefore, voting for people who were similar to them.

I fear that with Judge Barrett’s religious beliefs, she will aid in making what should be basic human rights, a grueling fight for women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community across the country.

While there is nothing I can do as a teenager in Pennsylvania, the election is just around the corner. If you can vote, vote because as a girl who is 16 years old, watching my future and my rights be debated by politicians who are older than my grandparents makes me feel slightly concerned for what my life will look like in the next 10 years. 

And it is not only my life in the balance, it is the millions of other lives as well. Our future is not a debate topic, it is real life. So vote for the sake of your family, your friends, and your neighbors.