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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Opinion: Amy Coney Barrett is a disgrace to the Supreme Court

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When a middle schooler asks you to quiz them for their upcoming test on the U.S. Constitution, you might ask, “What are the five freedoms of the First Amendment?”

Of course, forgetting one seems like a simple mistake, because it is﹣for a middle school student.

But when you’re a Supreme Court justice, as Amy Coney Barrett now is, you should know the amendments of the Constitution. It is, after all, the job of a Supreme Court justice to interpret laws to determine whether or not they are constitutional.

In fact, the website for the Supreme Court of the United States clearly states that the Court “functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.”

“Speech, press, religion, assembly, I don’t know, what am I missing?” Barrett stated when asked this question by Sen. Ben Sasse of Neb. during a Senate confirmation hearing on Oct. 14.

Of course, the fifth of these rights is the right to protest. Barrett could not recall it.

That same day, when Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minn. asked whether or not she would ensure protections for a free press, Barrett would not answer the question.

This isn’t a surprising reaction from a justice who was nominated by President Donald Trump, who has frequently called the media “fake news” and has even gone so far as to call it the “enemy of the people.”

It is, however, very concerning to forget one freedom guaranteed in the Constitution and then refuse to answer whether or not you would uphold another liberty promised in the Constitution. Barrett’s incompetence is glaring, and it shows that she is unfit to serve as a Supreme Court justice.

When asked by Klobuchar if voter intimidation was illegal under federal law, she did not answer the question. Instead, she claimed Klobuchar was talking about a “hypothetical situation.”

Voter intimidation exists, and it is illegal.

What’s more, Barrett is known for her anti-choice views regarding abortion, citing her Catholic faith as the reason why.

Her views on LGBTQ+ rights are not inherently clear. However, during a lecture at Jacksonville University in 2016, Barrett stated that she was unsure as to whether or not she believed Title IX protections should apply to transgender Americans.

Barrett’s personal views are a threat to the rights of people with uteruses and the LGBTQ+ community, though she claims she would not let her personal ideals influence her rulings.

Before being appointed to the highest court in the U.S., Barrett had only served as a judge for three years, according to an article by Politco. During her time on the bench, she oversaw some absurd rulings.

In 2019, she sided against Terry Smith, a Black transportation worker who sued after he was called the n-word and fired by his employer. Barrett claimed that there was no evidence that the use of this slur fostered a “hostile or abusive working environment.”

Barrett herself referred to the slur as “egregious” and an “epithet,” but claimed that it did not necessarily imply hatred. This is a complete contradiction that shows a disregard for Black people.

It’s no coincidence that Barrett’s rushed confirmation was granted by all but one Republican senator. Barrett stands for what Republicans hold so dear– control and refusal of bodily autonomy, anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry and racism. Their votes of confirmation bear this truth.

It also shows their hypocrisy.

In 2016, when Justice Antonin Scalia passed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell swore that the Senate would not take any action for the confirmation of Merrick Garland, then-President Obama’s pick for the vacancy. The Senate would only take action after the 2016 election. He claimed that Americans deserve a “voice” in the process of choosing another justice.

Yet McConnell was one of the 52 senators who voted to confirm Barrett﹣less than a month before the 2020 election. McConnell and fellow Republicans do not care about the “voice” of Americans﹣they have a political agenda to push and they are clearly willing to do whatever it takes to put that agenda into action.

Barrett was nominated by Trump and confirmed by fellow Republicans in the Senate, despite her clear incompetence and bigotry. She couldn’t recall the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Of the freedoms that she did remember, she declined to answer whether she would protect them.

Amy Coney Barrett should have never been confirmed to the Supreme Court. She deserves no defense.

Follow Ashley on Twitter @ashleyness2000.

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About the Contributor
Ashley Ness, Opinion Editor | she/her
Ashley is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in women’s and gender studies. In her free time, she enjoys going to record stores, collecting funky socks, and playing solitaire. You can also catch her cracking puns. Ashley plans to become a mental health counselor one day.

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Opinion: Amy Coney Barrett is a disgrace to the Supreme Court