Campus CultureCulture

Students share their perspective on Amy Coney Barrett

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On Oct. 26, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice. Barrett’s nomination was passed in the Senate by a vote of 52-48 where every Republican seat except one—Sen. Susan Collins of Maine—voted yes and every Democratic seat voted no. 

The confirmation of Justice Barrett cemented the conservative advantage on the court after replacing the late Justice Ruth Bater Ginsburg in under two months after Ginsburg’s death. In an article published by the BBC, Professor of Law at George Washington University Jonathan Turley said that “she is not a work-in-progress like some nominees. She is the ultimate ‘deliverable’ for conservative votes.”

[Photo of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Amy Coney Barrett]
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

To say that Justice Barrett’s nomination and confirmation has beget national reaction would be an understatement. Many women’s rights activist are worried by Barrett’s conservative anti-abortion views and the possibility of a heavily conservative Supreme Court reversing Roe v. Wade. 

Other skeptics are concerned about Barrett’s devout catholicism, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California who voiced concern during Barrett’s Court of Appeals confirmation in 2017. 

“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein stated. “You have a long history of letting your religious beliefs prevail.” 

Students at Boise State have expressed thoughts, feelings and concerns after seeing the latest Supreme Justice confirmed to the highest court of the land. 

A student who preferred to remain anonymous, feels that Justice Barrett is capable of keeping her religious beliefs separate from her decisions on the Supreme Court.

“I expect Amy Coney Barrett to be a fair Supreme Court Justice. She believes strongly in the constitution and has stated herself that religious and personal views have no place to direct a judge’s decisions in the courtroom.” 

Justice Barrett described herself as a constitutional originalist during her confirmation hearings and was asked to define her choice of language for the Senate.

“So in English, that means that I interpret the constitution as a law, that I interpret its text as text and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it,” she said.

Social work major and junior Kernan Fritsch feels that she was added to the court to appeal to single issue voters. 

“From what I understand, she doesn’t have the experience to serve on the Supreme Court. The image she has built between giving anti-abortion speeches and being a part of an extremely religious organization defines her and, I fear, will define her rulings,” Fritsch said. 

Justice Barrett had belonged to the Indiana Right To Life nonprofit organization when she and her husband signed an anti-abortion newspapaer ad in 2006. The ad was created as a “pro-life educational piece” surounding the anniverary of Roe V. Wade. 

The ad, which appeared in the South Bend Tribune, stated “We, the following citizens of Michiana, oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death. Please continue to pray to end abortion.”

In 2016, Barrett made the suggestion that it would be unlikely that a conservative Supreme Court would overturn Roe V. Wade by saying “I don’t think abortion or the right to abortion would change. I think some of the restrictions would change.” Barrett emphsized that concern should lie in how much freedom the Supreme Court is going to allow states to have in regulating abortion. 

Jessica Roman, a senior psychology major, doesn’t have any expectations for Justice Barrett other than upholding the constitution. 
“I just hope that she makes an effort to protect women’s reproductive rights,” Roman said. “I hope that she can serve the United States as a Justice of the people and that she proves all of her nay-sayers wrong.”

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