Tipping the Scale

by Barbara Kay

Barett getting sworn into the Supreme Court, joined by Justice Thomas, President Trump and her husband, Jesse M. Barrett (Image via CNN)

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed,” stated the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Alma Mater statue outside of the Columbia University library, where Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from (Photo by Barbara Kay)

The Senate decided not to honor her wish by appointing Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed on Oct. 26.

Many of those who respected Ginsburg were distraught over her death, including Patricia Rind, a SUNY Purchase gender and sexuality professor. She stated, “It was on Rosh Hashana Eve, and I’m Jewish, and my daughter saw it on her phone and I grabbed her, and said, ‘NO!’, I think it’s so cynical to appoint a woman as if that makes what she says okay.”

The opposition to Barrett’s nomination is heavily influenced by her conservative beliefs.

“In 2006, she was a signatory on a newspaper advertisement sponsored by St. Joseph County Right to Life,” stated Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The ad called for an end to Roe v. Wade and Barrett specifically signed onto a statement that she opposes ‘abortion on demand’ and defends ‘the right to life from fertilization.’ In sum, Judge Barrett’s approach to constitutional interpretation, opinions as a federal appellate judge, and vitriolic public advocacy disparaging contraception, opposing abortion, and defending ‘the right to life from fertilization’ lay bare a deep disagreement with the established constitutional protections for reproductive rights.”

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it won’t stop abortions from happening but it will stop safe abortions from taking place.

“The first time I heard of a ‘coat-hanger abortion’ was on American Horror Story,” said Amanda Mirditovic, a first time Brooklyn voter. “The character couldn’t get a medical abortion and was raped. She didn’t want to keep the baby and took matters into her own hands. I’m worried that this is what more women will turn to if Roe is overturned.”

The ‘pro-life’ stance Barrett has taken is controversial, even to those who have mixed feelings about abortion.

“I think it's terrible, no one should control a woman's body,” said Catherine Friedman, a New York City early voter. “I’m against abortion, but I believe every woman has the right to decide.”

Her husband, Joel Friedman, is more displeased about the hypocrisy surrounding Barrett’s nomination.

“It's bullshit. I think he’s [Trump] doing it to get some votes, everything he does is for votes. They should’ve waited until the new president comes in but he wants to control the judicial system,” he stated.

“At one point I would’ve said the president can do whatever, even if it’s an election year, but after Mitch McConnell said Obama couldn’t appoint Merrick Garland, it’s completely corrupt, hypocritical, and outrages,” stated John Mitchell Morris, a former employment discrimination lawyer, and who is currently a SUNY Purchase college writing professor.

Another discrepancy citizens have found within Barrett’s pro-life stance is she is looking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

“The idea of overturning the first healthcare bill in the middle of a nationwide pandemic is so unthinkably ridiculous and hyper-political, it just proves the inability of our government to function properly right now,” said Morris.

Democrats are now pushing for term limits on the court. The Supreme Court’s fate resides on this year’s election, and whether or not Joe Biden is elected and can pack the court with Democratic justices.

One question that remains is, if Democrats gain back control of the Supreme Court, how will they better protect reproductive rights as the country knows them?

“I think the Biden administration will certainly make strides to protect reproductive rights, “ said current law student, and Australian native Katrina Sullivan. “They’ll focus on expanding healthcare access, and he promised a diverse cabinet. I’m hopeful that reproductive justice will be at the top of the agenda.”

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