Barrett Threatens Rights, Democracy

BarrettJudge Amy Coney Barrett; Photo: Wikipedia

Trump Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Threatens LGBTQ+ Rights & Democracy; Sen Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey Talk To The Rainbow Times About It

By: Audrey Cole/TRT Reporter

The Trump administration along with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are rushing through the nomination of a new SCOTUS Justice to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, even after Ginsburg, herself, asked that the next president replaced her instead. 

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” were the words that the “Notorious RBG,” as many refer to the icon, dictated to her granddaughter in a press statement days before her passing.

In what has been deemed by many as a callous move, McConnell, the Senate Republican Majority Leader, vowed to call for a vote to replace Justice Ginsburg just an hour after the nation learned of her death—a move in direct contrast to his own “rules” established by the GOP during the Obama administration.

“Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set the precedent in 2016 when he said no Supreme Court vacancies should be filled in a presidential election year,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) of McConnell’s refusal to confirm then Obama-nominee Merrick Garland, citing the proximity of the election at the time as his excuse. “In setting that bar, McConnell kept that seat open for 400 days from vacancy to floor vote, until Donald Trump was president and could nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch.”

McConnell and Trump are eager to follow through on the nomination of one of the most conservative women known to sit on the bench, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

“McConnell and his Republican caucus in the Senate stole that Supreme Court seat [then], and now they’re trying to steal another one,” Markey emphasized via an interview with The Rainbow Times.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said that a Barrett appointment would be an assault on American democracy, adding that fundamental rights would be at peril such as the Affordable Care Act, ACA, voting rights, women’s reproductive rights, immigrant rights, and more.

“I will not be meeting with Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee,” Sen. Warren said via a statement after learning of Barrett’s nomination. “I will not lend legitimacy to Mitch McConnell’s efforts to steal another Supreme Court seat.

“The nominee has already made it clear that she will try to deliver a deathblow to health care coverage for millions of Americans and to erase protections for people with pre-existing conditions. She’s an extremist who was picked to overturn Roe v. Wade, rubber-stamp Trump’s attacks on immigrants, strip away voting rights, and complete the decades-long assault on our judiciary by billionaires and giant corporations to tilt the courts in their favor. Too many lives are on the line. We need to treat this nomination like the illegitimate power grab it is.”

Falseness doesn’t begin to describe this unprecedented move by McConnell and the Trump White House, Markey emphasized.

“Hypocrisy is too weak a word to describe McConnell and his colleagues’ position here,” Markey said. “It’s corruption, plain and simple.”

Likewise, Markey vowed to honor the late Justice’s legacy and to take whatever means necessary to assure it is protected.

“If McConnell and Trump betray the dying wish of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and appoint a justice to her seat, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court in a new, Democrat-controlled Senate,” Markey said. “We must use all the tools at our disposal because hoping and relying upon Republicans to do the right thing is simply not a strategy.”


Most Americans agree

Sen. Warren appealed directly to voters, voters who are currently casting ballots across the country.

“There is so much at stake: Health care for millions of Americans. A woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. Dreamers. The right to join a union. Racial Justice. Economic equality.  Our very democracy is on the line and our biggest weapon is our voice. Speak out. Vote. Make your voices heard,” she urged.

Most Americans side with Senators Warren and Markey.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Americans by nearly a 20-point margin say the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court should be left to the winner of the presidential election and a Senate vote next year, contrary to GOP plans for a rushed nomination by Trump and vote by the current GOP-sided Senate, according to a report published by The Rainbow Times last month.


Barrett threatens LGBTQ rights

Barrett’s appointment threatens to turn back decades of progress for LGBTQ+ and women’s reproductive rights, transgender rights and protections, healthcare for over 20 million Americans, and many more reported this publication.

A former clerk to the unapologetically Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who once compared same-sex marriage to eventual bestiality, said that “Barrett was Trump’s pick for a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,” a CNN report read.

David B. Cruz, Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Southern California School of Law, told The Washington Post (WP) that Justice Ginsburg’s support for LGBTQ+ rights went beyond just that.

“Ginsburg not only played a critical role in voting in favor of LGBTQ+ rights but also voted to keep religious exemptions within narrow boundaries,” said Cruz to the WP. “Her absence, and her replacement by a conservative justice, could help tip the scale toward curtailing LGBTQ+ rights.”


Barrett’s threat to landmark decisions

Judge Barrett “has previously made disparaging comments about transgender women, [stating] that she believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and publicly opposed the outcome in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that extended the freedom to marry to same-sex couples,” reported a statement by Freedom for All Americans (FFAA),

“ … Justice Ginsburg left a legacy in which she affirmed LGBTQ+ protections under the law in every legal milestone we have achieved, from striking down laws criminalizing our relationships to extending the freedom to marry to prohibiting discrimination against us; and those rulings cannot be rolled back or compromised,” said Kasey Suffredini, CEO and national campaign director of FFAA.


The late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG. Photo: SCOTUS blog

In June, the Supreme Court delivered a powerful assertion of LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections when it ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, a groundbreaking United States Supreme Court civil rights case in which the Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Judge Barrett’s public positions on LGBTQ issues and her public association with anti-LGBTQ activist groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposes marriage equality and has been leading nationwide efforts to banish transgender people from public spaces, is concerning,” said Suffredini.


Upcoming LGBTQ+ and health care cases

On November 4, the court is set to hear oral arguments in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In this case, a Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia that operated, and still does, a foster care agency in Philadelphia for over 100 years, refused to license married same-sex couples to become foster parents, in violation of the nondiscrimination provisions of a contract into which they voluntarily entered with the City and received taxpayer funds from too. The Catholic Social Service agency and four of its licensed families sued the City of Philadelphia when the City refused to renew the agency’s contract.

The outcome of the case could have broad implications for the application of nondiscrimination laws around the country, as well as for the ability of local governments to enforce all kinds of critical local regulations relating to public health and welfare that keep people safe and healthy, read an FFAA release.

Some other cases that will be heard by the Court in October and November deal with women’s protections and reproductive rights, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In California v. Texas and Texas v. California (consolidated for one hour of argument on Nov. 10, per SCOTUS website) the Court will hear arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that virtually every American obtain health insurance is constitutional and, if not, whether the rest of the ACA can survive.

With less than one month before the presidential election and millions of ballots already cast, McConnell and Trump, seek to rush Barrett’s confirmation before the election—a move that is opposed by 57% of American voters.


Honoring RBG’s wishes & taking action

“Ruth left our nation a message, and the message was that her ‘most fervent wish’ was for her replacement not to be named ‘until a new president is installed,’ but Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are plowing ahead anyway and doing everything they can to steal a second seat on the United States Supreme Court,” said Sen. Warren. “This is the last gasp of a corrupt Republican leadership that does not reflect the views of the majority of our people or our values as a nation.”

Markey echoes the critical nature of this lifetime appointment, which would alter the history of the nation for generations to come.

“We know what is at stake: the Affordable Care Act and coverage for pre-existing conditions, Roe v. Wade, clean air and clean water, immigrant protections, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights,” Markey said.

HRC President Alphonso David stressed the importance of joining intersectional struggles to protect the nation’s democracy.

“Rushing a far-right nominee through a divisive, sham confirmation process before voters have spoken will only undermine both the legislative and judicial branches, and cause irreparable harm to our democracy,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Under no circumstances should we take away voters’ right to make this choice by nominating, holding hearings for or confirming any judicial nominee before Inauguration Day.

“But this fight is not ours alone. We [the LGBTQ+ community] proudly stand alongside our partners in the racial justice, reproductive rights, and immigrant rights movements and will fight like hell because our lives depend on ensuring we protect Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and install a true ally for freedom, justice, and equality on the Court. Only together, united, can we defeat this president and his attempts to roll back our progress.

With the November 3 election just weeks away, Markey urges action.

“We must fight for Justice Ginsberg’s legacy,” Markey continued. “We must mobilize, organize, and remove Donald Trump from office to ensure that her service to our country and her commitment to justice and equality is never lost or forgotten.”

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