Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation Was Hypocrisy

Annabella Agosto, Staff Writer

Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not want a new justice approved until “a new president is installed,” yet the Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett anyway. Cartoon by Ariana Tackett.

The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had one final wish as she was days away from death, that “[she would] not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Ginsburg made this request out of a desire to respect the wishes of the American people by waiting until after they had the chance to demonstrate their views in the 2020 election. Despite this, the Senate majority insisted that the confirmation process should proceed. 

Rushing to fill a seat on the Supreme Court when election day is just a few weeks away means being unwilling to listen to the current wishes of the American people and their possible desire for a change in leadership. The open seat should not have been filled until the election concluded, and thus Amy Coney Barrett should not be sitting on the Supreme Court. 

In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, claiming it was too close to an election and we should “let the American people decide.” Obama still had a year left in his term when this statement was made. Now this year, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed only eight days before the end of the election. 

If the Senate’s established precedent is that Supreme Court nominees cannot be appointed during an election year, it should apply to every case. Furthermore, millions of people had already cast their votes during the time the confirmation hearings were taking place this year; meaning that if the true motive behind the precedent is to let the American people decide, waiting for the election to conclude would have been the appropriate course of action. 

Graph depicting the time it took to confirm all current U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Photo by Naomi Scully-Bristol. 

Many of those in favor of Barrett’s confirmation say that the Senate majority had the right to choose to disregard this because they represent the majority of the American people. It is important to realize, however, that the Senate majority actually represents less than half of all Americans. Even though the 52 senators who voted in favor of Barrett’s confirmation dominate the Senate chamber, the 48 senators who opposed it represent 13.5 million more people. Additionally, Amy Coney Barrett was appointed by a president who lost the popular vote, so there is no strong basis for the claim that her confirmation is predominantly what the American population wanted. 

Unfortunately, there is no way for the American people alone to reverse the confirmation. It is still important to remember that everyone has the ability to contact any representative to request change and always support the spread of accurate information. Possibly the most significant action is to continuously ensure that your voice is being represented by voting in elections when you can, no matter how small they may seem.