New SCOTUS Justice: Too Soon and Too Inexperienced


Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed and sworn into the Supreme Court of the United States on October 27, 2020, just a week before the 2020 presidential election, meeting swarms of controversy. Some hail Barrett as a role model for young girls, as she is only the sixth woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Others cite her conservative nature and harmful unwillingness to separate her beliefs from her decision-making. Regardless of opinion in terms of her personality and beliefs, her inexperience and the rush to appoint her alone are distasteful.
Out of all of the justices currently serving on the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett has the least experience. She submitted only 1,800 documents to the Senate for review, which does not seem like such a small number, but it pales in comparison to the number of documents submitted by other Supreme Court nominees in their hearings. John Roberts, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, gave the Senate confirmation committee 75,000 documents to review. Elena Kagan submitted 170,000 documents, and Neil Gorsuch submitted 180,000. Brett Kavanaugh submitted more than one million documents and records for the Supreme Court to review. Compared to these numbers, Barrett’s 1,800 documents feel too bare for the Senate to review for her potential position on the Supreme Court.
They say, however, that quality is better than quantity. She may have had much more experience than the documents submitted could have represented. But in Barrett’s case, her experience matched up with the documents she submitted. Barrett has the least experience of anyone to be nominated for the Supreme Court since 1991 when Clarence Thomas was nominated and eventually confirmed.
Equally as concerning is the timing of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and subsequent confirmation. She was nominated to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on September 18, 2020. Ginsburg’s final wish was for any nomination or confirmation of her replacement to be postponed until after the election since it was coming up so soon. Her wish was ignored, however, and President Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett on September 26, 2020, just a week and a day after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing.
When Antonin Scalia died in February of 2016 and left a vacant seat on the Supreme Court, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. However, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell stated that he would not allow the current president to nominate anyone for the position because the election was later that year. The election would not have been for nine more months, but the Senate did not allow Obama to nominate a replacement because he would not be in the running for the 2016 election. Nine months was deemed too close to the election to allow Obama to produce his nomination for the Supreme Court, but Trump was able to produce his nominee and confirm her just a week before the election. To me, this is a breach of justice and clear party bias that hinders the people instead of helping them.
I find it incredibly disrespectful and improper that Barrett, who herself has experience that could not even come close to that of her peers on the Supreme Court, was nominated so close to the election and so soon after the passing of her predecessor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.