AMY Coney Barrett Sworn in as us Supreme Court Judge: Major Victory For the Right Wing
The confirmation and
swearing in of Amy Coney Barrett as a judge of the US Supreme Court on Monday,
October 26, marks a major victory for conservative and ultra-right wing
sections. The 48-year-old judge of the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals in
Chicago was confirmed by a 52-48 vote on largely partisan lines in the
Republican Party-controlled US Senate. This was following a confirmation
process that was extraordinarily fast by US standards – a concerted Republican
move to make sure a conservative judge was appointed before the November 3
swearing-in, the US Supreme Court has shifted even more towards the right. Six
of the nine judges in the court are conservatives. The composition of the
Supreme Court has become a cause for concern as it could have a vital role to
play in deciding the winner of the US presidential elections. The ideological
composition of the court may also lead to decisions favoring the right-wing on
a host of issues, including abortion and reproductive rights, labor laws,
immigrant rights and LGBTQ rights.
The Democrats did try
to slow down the confirmation process with some procedural moves but failed due
to the Republican majority. Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential candidate
Joe Biden had earlier referred to Amy Coney Barrett as a “a very fine person”
and indicated he was not opposed to her. This is despite her having “odious
views on a range of subjects allegedly near and dear to the Democrats,” as
Eugene Puryear of BreakThrough News pointed out. He added that this
was believed to have led to an increase in public support for the judge.
Barrett’s name was
proposed by US president Donald Trump after the death of Supreme court judge
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was a liberal. She becomes the third Supreme Court
judge to have taken office during Trump’s tenure. A US Supreme Court judge is
not a tenure-limited position, which means they serve until they are impeached,
retire of their own accord or die.
Amy Coney Barrett has
been described by analysts as likely to be one of the most conservative judges
in the current Supreme Court. In her 23-year-long career as a legal
practitioner and scholar, including her preceding three-year stint as a federal
judge, Barrett has supported and advocated for conservative and right-wing
positions on issues of social justice and civil rights. Citing a Reuters report,
Eugene Puryear also noted that she has a record of siding with law enforcement
when they have been accused of using excessive force.
This record is
significant considering the court may also become the center of cases around
the elections. This year, postal ballots have become a major point of
contention between Democrats and Republicans. The Republicans and Trump have
disputed its validity over in-person voting, while Democrats and other
progressive groups have argued for its necessity to ensure franchise during the
VOTES ON THE
Nearly 64.7 million
people have already voted through postal ballots and early voting, which is
already 6 million more than the early voting numbers in 2016. Of these, close
to 44.8 million votes were sent by post, surpassing a total of around 33
million in 2016. Already concerns have been raised over the capabilities of the
US Postal Service to deliver all the ballots in time, with fears that more than 1
million ballots will not be delivered in time.
petitions have reached the court over counting and deadline of postal ballots,
including two from key swing States of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. On Monday,
as Barrett was being confirmed, the court refused to remove the stay on a lower
court ruling that allowed the counting of ballots even after election day in
Wisconsin as long as they had been mailed by the deadline. Thousands of ballots
may thus be uncounted in the upcoming election in Wisconsin, which has already
begun early counting. The Supreme Court has already ruled in favor of the
Republicans in a number of election-related cases.
In a counting dispute
in the 2000 presidential election, the Supreme Court controversially shut down
a recount process in the state of Florida, where the Republican candidate
George W. Bush won by a state-wide majority of around 500 votes. A similar
close contest is expected in the upcoming elections, and many observers have
estimated that if the number of uncounted ballots grows, it could affect the
outcome in favor of Trump.
The Supreme Court has
two highly anticipated cases in its upcoming session that begins in November.
One deals with LGBTQ+ discrimination, in a lawsuit filed by the Roman Catholic
archdiocese in Philadelphia against the city officials who barred them for
participating in foster-care programs because they barred same-sex couples as
foster parents. The other is concerning the constitutionality of the Affordable
Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, which helps provide the bare minimum of
healthcare to Americans.
ultra-right sections in the US are hoping that the current court will strike
down Roe vs Wade, a Supreme Court judgement from 1973 that protects
the right of women to have abortions.