Opinion: Democrats Are Wrong in Saying Amy Coney Barret’s SCOTUS Justice Nomination is Unjustified

Having+secured+the+SCOTUS+nomination%2C+Judge+Amy+Coney+Barrett+will+now+go+before+the+full+Senate+which+will+vote+to+determine+if+she+will+serve+on+the+highest+judicial+body+in+the+US.

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Having secured the SCOTUS nomination, Judge Amy Coney Barrett will now go before the full Senate which will vote to determine if she will serve on the highest judicial body in the US.

Elias Giuliano, Contributor

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court — to take the place of the late Justice Ginsburg — have concluded. Having secured the nomination, Barrett will now go before the full Senate which will vote to determine if she will serve on the highest judicial body in the US. With a Republican majority in the Senate, it is likely that this vote will be in her favor.

Many Democrats — both in and out of the Senate — oppose this nomination. In fact, the original Judiciary Committee vote was cast solely by Republican Senators in a 12-0 vote because Democrats chose to abstain in protest on account of several factors they claim make the nomination illegitimate or improper.

Democratic Senators abstained from the Senate Judiciary Committee vote and put pictures of Americans protected under the Affordable Care Act in place of themselves (shown on right). (The Washington Post)

But Republicans have been quick to counterattack, claiming Democrats’ reasons for objecting to nomination are themselves improper, unfounded, and merely a partisan attempt to prevent an honest and upstanding legal figure from obtaining a strong position out of fear that it will impede the implementation of their “radical” ideals.

So, which side is correct? Is Barrett justified to be a SCOTUS justice? Or is another judge better fit to fill RBG’s seat?

Democrats’ primary contention with this nomination is its proximity to the upcoming presidential election. With President Trump’s first term near its end, and the possibility that he will be voted out in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden, Democrats insist that the American people should be given a greater say in deciding the next Supreme Court justice, since the president initially appoints a judge.

As many have pointed out, however, presidents are elected to serve 4 years — not 3 years and 11 months — and they retain their full power until they are officially succeeded by another president. Delaying Barrett’s confirmation process would accomplish exactly that which the Democrats seek to avoid: not allowing the American people to have a say in the government through a duly-elected official.

Democrats also see Barrett’s nomination as a threat to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare.

The Act has been subject to great controversy and debate between both parties; Democrats argue that it provides underprivileged Americans with a reliable, publicly-funded alternative to private health insurance, while Republicans claim it eliminates many elements of free choice of, and competition between, insurance providers.

The Act has also been subject to scrutiny under the lens of the US Constitution. The Supreme Court is set to decide on November 10, in California v. Texas (known as Texas v. United States in lower courts), whether or not the rest of the ACA is severable from a specific provision which has been deemed unconstitutional (severability refers to the ability of legislation to remain functional without a key portion of itself).

Many Democrats fear that with Barrett on the Court, the odds will be further stacked against the ACA — more than they already are with the current conservative majority. Precedents from prior cases, however, have already determined that much of the Act is indeed severable from the negated provision. And, to entertain the left’s view of the worst-case scenario, even if the entire Act is struck down and Donald Trump is reelected, it is likely that the Trump administration will reinstate many key portions from the ACA — including preventions against being denied medical coverage due to pre-existing conditions, which is estimated to currently protect up to 129 million Americans.

Though the Democrats see Amy Coney Barrett as a massive threat to their legislative power, it is unlikely that her position on the Supreme Court will represent any kind of disastrous undoing of important policies. After all, the Supreme Court can’t simply erase laws and overturn legal precedents as they see fit. Before the Supreme Court can act, a plaintiff that has been specifically affected by a law must bring a case against that law. Even that is a lengthy process; the plaintiff must move up through lower courts before reaching the top.