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By Sophia Downes

Junior, GW

President Donald Trump’s previous Supreme Court nominations have been highly controversial, and newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett is no different. Many Democrats are reluctant to see her on the Court, believing that she is unqualified. In my opinion, Amy Coney Barrett is certainly qualified to assume the position of Supreme Court Justice, and her previous legal experience does not validate many Democrats’ concerns. However, if prominent Republicans, such as Senator Mitch McConell, blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, Merrick Garland, because the election was too close, they should have applied this same logic to the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

In the hearings, Justice Amy Coney Barrett demonstrated that she meets the legal qualifications expected of a Supreme Court Justice. She clearly displayed her knowledge of the American legal system. She knows the Constitution, precedents, and how to properly apply the law. Many Democrats focused on her forgetting one of the freedoms in the First Amendment, but her mastery of the law far exceeded this fluke, especially given the fact that she did not bring any notes with her to the hearings.

Her legal experience is also impressive. After graduating from Notre Dame Law School, she clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She also worked for many years as a distinguished law professor and as a litigator. Most recently, she was appointed by President Trump to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Here numerous careers in the legal profession have certainly equipped her with the skills necessary to fulfill the obligations of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Additionally, Justice Coney Barrett has a clean personal record. Her hearings did not include any allegations, like claims that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford and plagiarism accusations about Justice Neil Gorsuch. Not only must justices know the law, but they must uphold the highest moral standards, and Justice Coney Barrett has demonstrated she can do so.

However, just because Justice Coney Barrett is qualified to serve, does not mean that she should have been confirmed. The situation regarding President Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, points to the political motives of the confirmation process, motives that should have no place in the supposedly impartial branch of government. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other prominent Republican senators refused to conduct hearings for Garland, explaining that President Obama should not be allowed to nominate a justice eight months before the presidential election. Some of McConnell’s colleagues asserted that their reasoning was not politically charged, as they would react similarly to a Republican nominee. However, these same senators voted to confirm Justice Coney Barrett a mere eight days before the election. If they refused to consider Merrick Garland because of the proximity to the election, their support for Justice Coney Barrett just over a week prior to this year’s election is logically fallacious and blatantly hypocritical. The questionable motives of Republican politicians such as Senator McConnell are supplemented by the fact that, shortly after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, he issued a statement that he was determined to fill her seat during Trump’s presidency. 

Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett is certainly qualified for her position on the Supreme Court. However, she is unfortunately being used by conservative members of Congress to further their political agenda and create divisions across the aisle. Because of their inconsistent logic, she should not have been confirmed.

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