During two long days of her hearing, Judge Amy Coney Barrett took the strategy used by all modern Supreme Court nominees to the next level by avoiding saying anything about issues that could potentially become court cases and saying practically nothing about cases that courts have already decided.
She refused to say whether separating children from their parents to deter immigration was wrong, whether President Trump can delay the election or pardon himself, or if climate change is real, according to a NY Times analysis of her hearing. As the analysis notes, a particularly notable question from the hearing, one she also refused to answer, was whether or not already established Supreme Court rulings, on abortion and marriage equality, were up for reconsideration.
“Having studied how forthcoming nominees have been since public confirmation hearings at which nominees testified began in 1939, I think Barrett will rank as among the least responsive nominees in American history,” Paul M. Collins Jr., a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told the New York Times.
The few times she did answer straightforwardly, her responses alarmed and shocked many Americans ― such as when she could only state 4 out of the 5 freedoms stated in the first amendment, missing the freedom “to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.
Judge Barret was, unlike President Trump, able to denounce white supremacy.
At the end of the hearing, in a 52-48 vote, Barret was confirmed. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only GOP senator to vote with Democrats against the nomination, expressing concerns of the proximity of Election Day to consider a nominee.
Though Senator Schumer’s well-spoken words “you will speed the precipitous decline of faith in our institution, our politics, the Senate and the Supreme Court,” may have fallen to the republican party’s deaf ears, they have never felt truer.
This election, even more so than in the last previous years, have shown Americans basic, unalienable rights on the line for people of color, immigrants, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Since the beginning of Trump’s presidency in 2016, polarization in American politics has become increasingly apparent.
According to a 2016 Stanford study, due to the stark differences in the candidates running: “sharp partisan divisions are at the center of every committee vote, every regulatory action, every judicial appointment in Washington.”
Last year, hate crime violence hit a 16-year high, with Latino immigrants being the main target group. Undeniably, as many have commented, Trump is a catalyst for hate. Another four more years of his agenda could have detrimental effects on minorities.
Just as Senator Schumer said: “Elections come and go. Political power is never permanent, but the consequences could be cataclysmic if our colleagues across the aisle let partisan passions boil over and scorch the ground rules of our government.”
His warnings should not only be used as a term of reassessing the state of American politics but should be considered as a nationwide plea to vote.