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The Injustice of a New Justice BY Will McDowell

Photo Courtesy of CBS News

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said days before her passing. Instead of respecting her wish, President Donald Trump quickly decided to nominate a new member to the Court. This decision rightfully received immediate backlash due to its hypocritical and unethical nature. Furthermore, the nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is underqualified for the position, showing the urgency and lack of care of the president to get a new member in the Court just weeks before the election.

The sheer hypocrisy of this decision is impossible to ignore. In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court nearly a year before his term ended. In response, Republican members of the Senate would not let the nomination move forward. On July 20, 2016, Garland broke the record for the longest gap between a Supreme Court nomination and confirmation of 125 days, which stood for 100 years. However, after Trump took over as president and nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Court, he was confirmed by the Republican-majority Senate in less than three months, shining a spotlight on the double standard in the length of the confirmation period.

It is easy to draw similarities to Trump’s recent Supreme Court nomination and point out the hypocrisy. Only 46 days before the day of the election, Ginsburg’s seat was left open. With less than a fifth of the time that Obama had before the election, Trump and the Republican party went back on their stance from the previous election, and Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court.

It is unethical to use Ginsburg’s death as an opportunity to benefit a political party.

Following her death, Trump seemed to respond with respect in his words; however, his actions told a different story. While he did not immediately bring up the idea of a replacement candidate when hearing of Ginsburg’s death, he soon invalidated this by searching for nominee candidates. By ignoring her dying wish of not being replaced until after the election, a lack of respect and remorse is shown to the passing of a great figure in American history and the fight for women’s rights.

Barrett is unfit and unqualified for a position on the Supreme Court not because of her political stance, but because of her moral beliefs and lack of judicial knowledge. Barrett’s mentors, including Justice Antonin Scalia, were openly against same-sex partnership, in favor of denying basic rights to people solely based on their sexual orientation. However, this kind of discrimination is not the only thing making her unfit as a Supreme Court Justice. Other concerns came up during her confirmation hearing.

“I have read things about climate change... I would not say I have firm views on it,” Barrett said. This basic denial of facts and refusal to have an opinion makes her unfit for the Supreme Court because as a justice, she will have to look at the facts and choose a side. If she does not even have an opinion on something like climate change, how will she make tough decisions as a justice?

Lastly, in her confirmation hearing, she was not even able to recall the five freedoms of the First Amendment. While this may just be due to the pressure of the hearing or simply a one time mistake, she will be under similar pressure when making decisions on the Supreme Court. The fact is, there are elementary school students who seem to know the Bill of Rights better than Barrett and, given the vast number of capable candidates, she is far from the most qualified.

In 2018, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that if there was any opening in the Supreme Court within a year of the election, the nomination would have to wait until after the election. Instead, the party has gone ahead with the process in order to make up for the election they are currently projected to lose. Ultimately, the blatant hypocrisy and immorality of this decision shows the desperation and grasp for power in the judicial branch from the Republican Party.