With Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s committee hearings scheduled to begin next week, 150 progressive-aligned public interest and civil rights organizations on Tuesday expressed their “strong opposition” to Barrett’s nomination, imploring the Senate not to confirm her to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a letter to senators, the groups, led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, emphasized Barrett’s “extreme record” on a broad range of issues from health care and reproductive rights to criminal justice reforms, contending that her confirmation would be “an insult” to the legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Judge Barrett’s extreme record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, along with her ideologically driven writings and speeches, demonstrate that she is incapable of rendering equal justice under law,” the letter stated. “Her hostility to Roe v. Wade and to Supreme Court cases upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will likely make her a decisive vote on the Court to reverse those landmark rulings, which would deprive millions of people access to essential health care services and abortion access. Her record also demonstrates a dangerous lack of deference to long-standing precedent.”
The groups similarly condemned Senate Republicans, saying it was “outrageous” to be prioritizing the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice rather than addressing “the worst public health crisis in a hundred years” or the recent “racial reckoning” that’s taken place in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
“It is shameful that at a time when more than 200,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19 and the need for health care access is more acute than ever, the Senate has chosen to prioritize filling the Supreme Court vacancy with a nominee hostile to health care access over passing legislation to aid an ailing nation,” the groups wrote. “It is particularly alarming that the Senate majority has recklessly decided to press forward with a hearing next week despite the fact that multiple members of the Senate Judiciary committee have just tested positive for COVID-19, and conducting a hearing could threaten the health and safety of Senators, staff, and other Senate workers.”
Taking direct aim at President Donald Trump, the groups also asserted that confirming Barrett to the high court would only enable the head of the executive branch to amass unparalleled and “nearly unchecked” power.
“Judge Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would grant President Trump nearly unchecked power to continue the devastating assault on civil and human rights in America, and it would cement an ultraconservative supermajority that could jeopardize critical rights and freedoms for generations – the very rights and freedoms that Justice Ginsburg helped secure during her nearly three decades of service on the Court,” the groups wrote.
“Moreover, the rush to confirm Judge Barrett is central to the president’s effort to stay in power at any cost. President Trump doubtlessly believes she would acquiesce to his attempts to destabilize our democratic process and the legitimacy of our elections. President Trump recently admitted that he wanted a ninth justice in place because he believes the Supreme Court will end up deciding the election winner, and he wants another loyalist on the Court to tip the scale in his favor. He made this comment the day before he told a reporter that he would not agree to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.”
In a press release accompanying the letter, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) conduct “irresponsible and shameful,” stating that “people’s lives are at stake.”
Read the full letter and see the undersigned groups below:
[image via OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images]
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