The Role is Filled: Now What?

Photo from Politico.com

On Oct. 26, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn into her new role as Supreme Court Justice, filling the spot of former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In the controversial vote to confirm Barrett’s spot, the nation is divided on what this means moving forward in regards to the 6-3 Republican-dominated Supreme Court.

While there have been no official changes or reversals on former judicial rulings, many are concerned about what the future holds. VALLEY is here to break down a few of the things that are sitting on the line.

Roe V. Wade

In the 1973, 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jane Roe in the infamous Roe V. Wade case. The ruling protected a pregnant woman’s right to chose whether or not to have an abortion.

The court did however place clarification on when and how the abortion can be decided. According to Oyez, during the first three months of pregnancy, the state cannot interfere with a woman’s right to choose. In the second trimester, the state may begin imposing restrictions. In the final stages of pregnancy, the state may continue imposing restrictions or prohibit the procedure.

As the political parties in the nation become increasingly polarized, each party has its own perspective on the matter of abortion. Typically, Republicans are pro-life and condemn the option to have an abortion while Democrats stand on the opposite side of the aisle, believing in the right to choose.

With the newly confirmed justice, many pro-choice organizations such as Planned Parenthood have been seeking to implement more security for women, as the fear grows many right-leaning states may impose heavier restrictions.

“Abortion access in these states now faces its gravest ever threat,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s president to the Associated Press.

While many pro-choice individuals hope for organizations to continue protecting and offering services for women, pro-life supporters are looking to President Trump’s promise of delivering a justice focused on reversing the Roe V. Wade decision.

Barrett never specifically addressed the topic of abortion during confirmation hearings, however, many believe her religious views and former judicial votes may be an influence as to how the court will proceed with abortion rulings.

Immigration

Another topic that has been amplified in recent years is immigration. With immigration rights come various subcategories such as citizenship, deportation, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and travel bans.

While Trump has worked to tighten immigration policies, many are focused on Barrett’s mixed votes as her records indicate she is in favor of some of the president’s policies but has also stopped him from certain policies.

In Morales V. Barr, Barrett argued that Former U.S. Attorney Jeff Session’s attempt to revoke “administrative closure” violated the opportunity for non-citizens to gain citizenship, in which they are entitled.

While some good may be done from her decisions, Coney Barrett is facing scrutiny as her former decisions as a judge are coming to light.

In 2018, Barrett refused to review Gerson Alvarenga-Flores case as he sought humanitarian protection. The Salvadoran citizen feared returning to El Salvador after gang violence escalated in his personal life. When at the border, Alvarenga-Flores testified his story in English—a language he is not fluent in—while seeking asylum and protection under the Conventions Against Torture.

In 2019, President Trump aimed to implement the public charge rule, a rule in which the Seventh Circuit rejected as it was seen to penalize those who were in need to access the aid the US government has created to help those in need. Barrett disagreed with the Seventh Circuit’s decision.

The rule at question was focused on determining if future immigrants would need public assistance from Medicaid to food stamps. Following the answer to this test, immigrants could be turned away if it was shown that future assistance would be needed.

Barrett’s future decisions as Supreme Court Justice can be viewed as a “toss up” as irregularities in her decisions have been apparent throughout her experience as a federal judge.

LGBTQ+ Rights

In 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. In a 5-4 ruling, it was decided that states cannot deny marriage rights to those in the LGBTQ+ community that opposite-sex couples have experienced for decades upon decades.

“This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land,” said former U.S. President Barack Obama following the ruling which occurred during his second term.

The LGBTQ+ community is protected from the ban of same-sex marriage and employment discrimination. However, cases involving the LGBTQ+ community are still prevalent as the topic of religious freedom is related.

In an upcoming case soon to be seen by the Supreme Court, Philadelphia has decided to end the referral of foster children to the Catholic Social Services. The decision comes from the discovery of foster care children not being placed in same-sex households. This case has to consider both discrimination and religious freedom.

With Barrett’s public religious views and a conservative majority, the ruling of this case is to be determined following the presidential election.

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