Amy Coney Barrett and the Era of Trumpism

Illustration by Alyssa Long

Natalia Hernandez

Copy Editor

As a chaotic election cycle comes to a close, something was bound to end this election season with a bang ─ we just hoped it wouldn’t be with the replacement of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). Her passing was an opportunity Senate Republicans intended to capitalize on to solidify a 6-3 conservative tilt on the court. 

The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett (ACB) eight days before a national election is a slap in the face to the American people to make sure they remember the ghastly era of Trumpism

So who is ACB? The short answer is another gun-loving “Karen” Trumpie you’d casually run into at the grocery store. But in all seriousness, she’s a threat to marginalized groups in the United States. She claims to be an “originalist”: someone who interprets the constitution with the exact same meaning it had the date it was originally written. 

By now you’re probably recalling that the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787 ─ a time where women weren’t allowed to vote. How can she be an originalist and be against her own right to vote? 

Her originalist interpretation of the Constitution poses a threat to the American people and our basic human rights. This means we are going to watch the inevitable demise of the little health care we have, reproductive rights, and equality for the LGBTQ community, leading the country into another period of horrific times. 

She is also dangerously underqualified to sit on the high bench. She’s only been a federal judge for three years, has spent her career in academia, and has never tried a case. Truly, an insult to RBG’s dying wish

Granted, Donald Trump is the President of the U.S. and he’s within his slim executive powers to fill the court vacancy especially with GOP control in the Senate. But, this is his third appointment. It should not have proceeded considering the precedent that was set with the denial of Obama’s nomination in 2016. 

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell explicitly said that Merrick Garland’s nomination was unfitting and, “the American people should have a say in the court’s direction.” This was 237 days before the 2016 election.

Now with eight days before another national election, McConnell is over the moon with the success of this nomination. Instead of prioritizing the cries of the American people who have “somehow slipped into poverty” during this never-ending pandemic, he was too busy solidifying his legacy. 

Nonetheless, ACB knows why she’s there. Her appointment is a mere political tool to secure Trump’s re-election, should the election be decided by the court. 

It’s not a stretch to conceive her as another pawn in Trump’s monarchical form of government. This is a recognizable pattern amongst Trump’s political puppets considering Brett Kavanaugh’s recent concurring opinion on the legitimacy of Wisconsin absentee ballots after Nov. 3. Anyone who is affiliated with Trump is doing everything in their power to delegitimize this election because of the increase of early-voting and voting by-mail. 

Joe Biden has to win the night of Nov. 3 by both a large electoral and popular margin. This election cannot be contested if there is any hope to avoid another Bush vs. Gore fiasco. In this case, the recounting of a thin margin of votes to decide the election was thrown into court which handed George W. Bush the 2000 election and ruled Florida’s vote recount procedures violated the 14th Amendment. 

If a 2020 version of this scenario happened again, the only appropriate thing for ACB to do is to recuse herself from that decision since she may be biased in Trump’s favor. However, this is unlikely as she is being paraded by the Trump administration as another “great achievement” with his recent ad

Americans have a right to be terrified and filled with anxiety right now. Even if Trump loses the election and is removed from office, we still have to deal with the repercussions of ACB’s lifetime appointment to the court. 

Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer notes, “the next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited your right to tell us how to run that majority.” 

Democratic leaders have been calling for the expansion of the court due to this nomination, which raises the possibility of Biden doing so should he and the Democrats win a Senate majority on election night. But as of now, we are left with a Senate majority who bends the rules to their advantage, and a Conservative-controlled judicial branch, leaving Americans to suffer the consequences.