Head-to-head: There is no reason to delay Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation


On Sept. 18, the nation was shocked to learn that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away due to complications of pancreatic cancer. Her death has resulted in a vacancy on the Supreme Court in the middle of a highly competitive presidential election year.

The duty of both the executive and legislative branches in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, as prescribed by Article Three of the Constitution, is for the president to nominate a replacement and for the U.S. Senate to confirm the nominee.

If this were any other year, this process would not be up for debate. However, it is 2020, and in an election year, everything is about the election.

Democrats have argued that President Trump should hold off on nominating a replacement until the next president is inaugurated. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that her party is willing to delay the confirmation process, even suggesting that another impeachment is not off the table. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested that confirming a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election year is “against democracy.”

Is there a constitutional justification for this delay? Is confirming a Supreme Court Justice in the middle of an election year really against the principles of our democracy? Of course not.

Barack Obama found himself in a similar situation when Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016. Democrats had absolutely no problem with Obama nominating Merrick Garland to fill that vacancy in the middle of an election year. No one called that a threat to democracy. It was the Republicans, in this instance, who decided to play politics by refusing to give Garland a confirmation hearing.

The Democrats are no strangers to turning Supreme Court nomination hearings into political circuses either. In 2018, Democrats leveled several personal attacks against Brett Kavanaugh. They will no doubt use the same tactics against Amy Coney Barrett. In fact, we are already seeing this.

Barrett’s Catholic faith has been called into question. On Sept. 24, Politico ran an editorial titled “Why Amy Coney Barrett’s Religious Beliefs Aren’t Off Limits,” which portrayed Barrett as a radical traditionalist because of her membership in a charismatic group called the People of Praise.

Ibram Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, suggested on Twitter that Barrett is racist because she adopted two kids from Haiti.

As a Catholic myself, I find these attacks against her faith disgusting. It is sad that, in 2020, Catholics wishing to serve in public life are still facing such bigotry. I pray that Amy Coney Barrett and her family are spared from further attacks.

The reasoning behind these fervent attacks on Barrett and the Democrats’ staunch opposition to a confirmation hearing is simple: Donald Trump is in the White House. There is nothing virtuous or noble going on here.

Democrats are not doing this to defend the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as they claim. They want to use a Supreme Court vacancy to motivate people to vote for them. It’s the exact same thing Republicans did in 2016.

The American people elected Donald Trump in 2016 with full knowledge that part of the president’s constitutional duty is to fill Supreme Court vacancies. Regardless of your opinions on our current president, Trump was completely within his right to nominate Barrett.

Trump is still the president, regardless of who you want to win this November. It is not the job of the American people to select Supreme Court Justices, that’s the president’s job.

As President Obama said during his presidency, “Elections have consequences.”