The Future of the Supreme Court

Students’ share opinions about new Justice Amy Coney Barrett

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Patrick Semansky

Amy Coney Barrett stands ready to be inducted as the newest Supreme Court Justice. Students have many hopes for her time on the court. One wish is that she remain neutral in her rulings. “I think a Supreme Court Justice should not lean any specific way and should not be biased toward either party,” senior Cooper Anders said.

Polled Klein Oak students offer their opinion on the new justice. The majority of those who responded do not view her favorably. (Erin Walters)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death left the future of the Supreme Court uncertain. So close to the election, there was debate over whether a nominee would be passed through this year. However, the Senate voted President Trump’s pick Amy Coney Barrett on Monday October, 27. This decision and the choice of her as the next justice evoked mixed feelings.

“I believe that since Trump’s administration said Obama couldn’t elect a judge during his last term then he should have stuck to his words and not elected Amy,” freshman Kaden Sprowl said.

This viewpoint was shared by several other self-identifying liberal students. Yet, conservative individuals primarily disagreed with the idea that her being sworn in seven days before the election was an issue.

“I have no problem with it at all,” freshman Josh Todd said. “Almost every president who has had an opening on the Supreme Court during the election year has filled it, and I see no reason why Trump can’t do the same. I support Amy Coney Barrett because she is a God devoted woman who has an extensive knowledge of the law and is incredibly dedicated to her work.”

Barrett’s policies are another polar aspect of the nomination. Her stance against abortion serving as a central topic of contention.

 “I support her on her views on abortion because I’m pro-life, and she is all for equality,” junior Braedon Fory said. “She is very neutral on both sides of the spectrum. She takes the facts before making a decision, and she is very prepared for what she does.”

The addition of Coney creates a majority conservative majority on the Supreme Court of six-three. This causes some to worry that the ruling body may now be able to overturn the abortion ruling of Roe v Wade.

“I do not support that she is trying to take away her own rights as a woman,” freshman Raylyn Tiamzon said. “A woman should have the right to control her own body. It’s not hurting others, so why should people have a say on what other girls get to do with their body.”

Barrett is filling the seat left behind by Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was renowned by many for her progressive beliefs and feminist rulings on the Supreme Court. Some feel Barrett falls short of that legacy.

“She walked through every door RBG [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] opened for her just to close them for others,” Zach Soard said. “If she doesn’t fight for women to have rights for their bodies, then it doesn’t really matter that she’s a female nominee.”

Nonetheless , others think her being a female nominee is progressive in itself because the majority of the justices are male.

“She is a woman fighting for the rights of women like RBG did,” junior Amy Edgar said. “She may be a different political party and have some different goals, but at the end of the day, they have the same goal – to bring people justice”

Coney’s connection to The People of Praise, a Catholic sect, is also questioned by some.

“I am a Catholic, but I am also an American, and so I recognize that my religious beliefs cannot interfere with my political leanings,” junior Sarah Macahado said. “This country was established on many revolutionary ideas, one of which being separation of church and state. As Justice, I have no doubt that she would not maintain that secularity in major court decisions, especially with former ties to such a strong religious organization.”

The People of Praise has been accused of fostering strict patriarchal positions and limiting the power of female members. 

“I heard that religious group represses women and it even has a show “The Handmaid’s Tale” based on it,” senior Minahil Medhi said. “It just goes to show Barrett should not be a Supreme Court judge because her decisions will be biased and influenced by outside aspects of her life.”

The level of involvement Amy Coney Barrett may have had within the organization is unknown.

“ACB is a devoted Christian and works very hard to be like Christ in every way she can,” freshman Josh Todd said. “As with the scandals that have popped up surrounding the group, ACB has had no direct correlation with them, and scandals pop up all the time within religious groups. I’m not saying that the victims are less entitled to justice because it is common, I’m just saying that I don’t feel like it should have any effect on her confirmation hearings.”

The United States has no official religion, but some point out that all of the judges are believers of Christianity. However, whether religion should influence judicial appointments is a debated topic.

“We live in a country where we have freedom of religion and as long as it doesn’t play a part in her judiciary decision making there shouldn’t be a problem,” senior Tony Parada said.

How Amy Coney Barrett will choose to conduct her career as a justice on the Supreme Court is unknown, but students have hopes for how their ideal appointee would issue rulings.

“They would advocate for social justices like LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights and racial justices,” junior Melissa Borges said. “They would be an inspiration to the rest of the Supreme justices and inspire change in the ways they lead.”