Five Things You Need to Know About Amy Coney Barrett
President Trump has nominated—and the Senate is currently rushing to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett—whose beliefs and record are antithetical to Justice Ginsburg’s and whose confirmation would threaten to dismantle her legacy. Here are five things you should know about Amy Coney Barrett and the danger she poses to our fundamental rights.
1. Barrett is likely the fifth vote needed to eviscerate Roe v. Wade.
President Trump has vowed to only appoint justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. In 2006, Barrett added her name to a newspaper advertisement that called Roe “barbaric” and vowed to “end abortion.” In prior scholarship, she said abortion is “always immoral” and also expressed that Supreme Court justices can overturn cases that conflict with their interpretation of the Constitution, suggesting her willingness to overturn Roe. Barrett’s record as a judge shows her support for unconstitutional abortion restrictions, including bans on abortion and forcing young people to tell their parents about their decision to have an abortion, even if a judge rules that the young person is mature enough to decide on their own.
2. Barrett’s beliefs about birth control endanger people’s abilities to control their own reproductive lives.
Barrett’s views are in sharp contrast to the justice she is replacing. Earlier this year, Justice Ginsburg defended the right to comprehensive birth control coverage from her hospital bed. Barrett on the other hand signed a letter in 2012 criticizing the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a “grave infringement on religious liberty.” Barrett’s signature raises serious concerns about her ability to rule impartially in cases about the benefit. The letter also expresses an alarming, anti-science opinion claiming emergency contraception is the same as abortion.
3. Barrett poses an immediate threat to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has made no secret of how she would rule on such a case.
One week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the ACA. In a 2017 article, Barrett criticized Chief Justice Roberts’ decision to uphold the ACA in NFIB v. Sebelius, saying that he pushed the law beyond “its plausible meaning to save the statute.” She also signaled her support for the dissent, which would have invalidated the ACA. The ACA has enabled millions of people nationwide—especially women of color—to receive health insurance coverage. It also provides protections for those with pre-existing conditions, including the millions of people in the United States who have tested positive for COVID-19. Especially during this devastating public health and economic crisis, it is imperative the ACA’s protections remain intact.
4. Barrett has made it harder to hold students accountable for sexual assault in schools.
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Education has weakened protections against sexual harassment, including sexual assault, and the Supreme Court will likely rule on whether schools can take meaningful action to prevent and address sexual harassment. Unfortunately, in a recent case, Barrett made sided with men’s rights activists to make it easier for students held accountable for sexual assault to sue their schools for sex discrimination under Title IX. Under her decision, the legal standard for men and boys who have been disciplined for sexual misconduct to claim they are a victim of sex discrimination is lower than the typical standard for sexual assault survivors—primarily girls and women—to bring a Title IX lawsuit. Barrett’ decision will make it harder for schools to treat sexual harassment seriously and hold rapists accountable. In this critical moment when the rights and protections of student sexual assault survivors are in jeopardy, Barrett has demonstrated she is not on their side.
5. Barrett’s case record demonstrates she would work to limit and undermine workplace protections.
Workplace civil rights laws ensure everyone can work free of discrimination and harassment. Barrett signed off on a workplace practice of racially segregating Black and Latinx employees, voting to uphold “separate-but-equal” workplaces 66 years after Brown v. Board of Education. She also supported a restrictive interpretation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) that excludes applicants from certain age discrimination protections and allows hiring practices that disproportionately exclude older workers to continue. If confirmed, Barrett’s restrictive approach to workplace protections could limit protections for workers, especially women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people who are often targets of workplace abuse.
If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, she will work to restrict reproductive freedoms, rescind health care for those who need it most, roll back protections for survivors of sexual harassment, and undermine workplace protections.