U.S. President Donald Trump (2R) watches as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett (L) is sworn in by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
U.S. President Donald Trump (2R) watches as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett (L) is sworn in by Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (R) as her husband Jesse Barrett (2L) holds a bible during a ceremonial swearing-in event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on October 26, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images via JTA)

Last week’s unseemly rapid confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a stark reminder of why Courts Matter.

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has been working diligently for the past four years through our Courts Matter program to educate our citizens about the important role federal judges and the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) play in every American’s life. The decisions made by these bodies impact many issues of great concern to women, children and families.

Last week’s unseemly rapid confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a stark reminder of why Courts Matter.

Irma Glaser
Irma Glaser

The legal battles continue to revolve around eliminating the Affordable Care Act without any other plan to replace it. SCOTUS already has allowed: the stripping away of the impact of each individual’s vote by sending cases of gerrymandering back to the states where the drawing of voter district maps will continue to be created by the political party in power; finishing the U.S. Census count on a shortened schedule rather than the mandated date; and treating corporations as people in terms of campaign finance.

The new Justice’s appointment further skews the makeup of the court in terms of cases aimed at overturning Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to abortion, and Obergefell v. Hodges for marriage equality.

Now Justice Barrett is a part of SCOTUS, but she cannot replace the type of careful judicial thinking that Justice Ginsburg displayed so well. No person could do so, who has openly shared that she thinks the ACA should be eliminated, making health care less accessible to all Americans while we are in the midst of a global pandemic; and who has served as a trustee for a private school with anti-LGBTQ policies.

The speedy actions of the U.S. Senate in vetting and confirming Barrett has made the senators who voted for her complicit in continuing to tear down an institution once admired for an image of reasoned and fair decisions, whether we agreed with all of them or not. In the meantime, the Senate has done nothing about the many bills sent from the House, including the much-needed COVID-19 directives.

I’m writing this before the results of the Nov. 3 election are known. The outcome of the election holds the key to eventually restoring balance to the federal judiciary and SCOTUS, or a continuation of the damage being inflicted on our weakening democracy.

Regardless of the finish, though, NCJW will continue to fight for all the issues that really do matter and to highlight the areas where the courts are not acting fairly, justly or appropriately.

Irma Glaser is NCJW Michigan’s Co-State Policy Advocate.

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