Conservative American Chief Justice candidate Amy Coney Barrett will be heard by the Senate on Monday. The Democrats gnash their teeth at that. They cannot prevent her nomination, but will try to get the American voters on their side.
Fear of conservative majority
The opening statement that 48-year-old Barrett will make during the first session – in fact her interview for the job – was made public on Monday.
Barrett will explain her legal philosophy and argue why she is suitable for appointment to the nine-judge court, which is for life.
As for the former, she refers to her mentor, the late Chief Justice Antonin Scalia. “His philosophy was simple: a judge should apply laws as they are written, not as the judge wants them to be.” She adds that she is “determined to maintain that same perspective” in her own career.
That is the thinking with which Barrett will try to reassure senators who have doubts about her extremely conservative personal and political positions. “In each case, I considered the arguments presented by the parties, discussed the issues with colleagues in the court, and did my utmost to achieve the outcome required by law, whatever my own preferences,” she wrote .
Progressive Americans fear the firm conservative majority in the Supreme Court that will arise from Barrett’s appointment. For many conservatives, a grand prize is in sight: overturning the Roe vs. Wade ruling, which in 1973 guaranteed the right to abortion by linking it to the right to privacy in the US Constitution.
More recent statements, such as those on LGBTI rights, are feared, and Barrett’s past statements about the Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) suggest that she will side with the president in his struggle to abolish it. .
Barrett’s beliefs have been discussed more often. She is a deeply religious Catholic who belongs to the strict People of Praise faith community. During her questioning in the Senate on her appointment to the Court of Appeal, her current position, she was questioned about this by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. “The dogma lives strongly in you,” he remarked of Barrett. This sparked a major political row over religious freedom, which benefited Barrett’s reputation on the conservative side.
Much pressure has been exerted from the White House on Republicans in the Senate to appoint Barrett ahead of the November 3 elections. President Trump’s campaign team can motivate his conservative supporters. In addition, her entry could potentially benefit Trump if the election results end up in court.
The Democrats are in a difficult position. On the one hand, they are furious about the hypocrisy of the Republicans in the Senate, who stated in 2016 that, according to a (previously unheard) rule, Barack Obama was not allowed to nominate a new chief justice in an election year. Four years later, that rule turns out not to extend to a Republican nomination. On the other hand, there is little they can do against Barrett’s appointment. The Republicans hold a majority in the Senate and appear to have secured the 51 needed votes.
What remains is an appeal to the voter. Polls consistently show that a large majority of Americans are against banning abortion or ending same-sex marriage. If Joe Biden wins the election and the Democrats manage to secure a majority in the Senate, they could theoretically increase the number of Supreme Court justices to restore the balance. That would be a controversial strategy – Biden and running mate Kamala Harris dodged in recent debates whether they would support it.