AU students react to Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court
College Republicans endorse the judge, as abortion and LGBTQ+ rights take center stage
American University students voiced a variety of concerns following President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, who will replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, if confirmed by the Senate.
From a shortlist of conservative political figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Trump ultimately decided on Barrett, who is known for her conservative stances on abortion, the Affordable Care Act and LGBTQ+ rights, amongst other issues.
The Executive Board of AU College Republicans said in a statement that they support the nomination.
“In this time of unprecedented tumult and uncertainty, it is especially imperative that the Supreme Court be at full capacity, to remain a steady defender of the Constitution,” the AUCR Executive Board wrote in a statement released Oct. 2. “We strongly encourage the Senate to confirm Judge Barrett and look forward to her many more years of service to the United States of America and our sacred Constitution.”
College Republicans declined to comment further.
Many students said they are concerned that if she is confirmed, she will threaten the long-standing Roe v. Wade decision—a landmark case that protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction—and the Affordable Care Act.
Jeremy Ward, the executive director of AU College Democrats, said that Barret’s nomination “shows that the Republicans don't care about health care.”
Roseanna Yeganeh-Kazemi, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, was also concerned. She cited Barrett’s use of religion to justify and support her legal opinions, such as with cases involving LGBTQ+ rights or abortion, as especially threatening, considering that the U.S. has no established religion.
“We pride ourselves on that concept that we have a separation of church and state, and the fact that in a lot of opinions she's written and a lot of her stances she brings in Catholicism, which I think is a major problem,” Yeganeh-Kazemi said.
Several students said they were frustrated that Republicans plan to confirm Barrett with only a month until the general election. In 2016, President Barack Obama's administration tried to fill a Supreme Court vacancy with eight months left until the election, but his nomination was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate.
“Then fast forward four years later, Justice Ginsburg's body is probably not even cold yet, it's just hours after she passed, and McConnell is saying that we are going to have a replacement,” Yeganeh-Kazemi said.
While some were upset, many students said they were not shocked, given the long-term political power the Trump administration and conservative lawmakers would acquire if Barrett is confirmed.
“I was expecting President Trump to make a decision very quickly; I was expecting the Senate to be [quick] to confirm her,” said Ali Siddiqi, a freshman in the School of International Service who has been following Barrett’s rulings since she was on the shortlist to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018. “She had no scandals or allegations to which the Trump campaign would want to deviate from, especially with Brett Kavanaugh. They want a clean judicial pick.”
Barrett’s confirmation hearing is set to start Oct. 12, and it is not yet known exactly how COVID-19 might affect the proceedings.