President Donald Trump has ignored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish and nominated a new Supreme Court justice to replace her, a move that the majority of Americans oppose. His pick? Ultra-conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 2017.
The dishonorable nature of Barrett’s appointment aside, her track record on civil rights is deeply concerning. The 48-year-old lawyer, professor, and Louisiana native is vocally anti-marriage equality and anti-abortion. NPR has characterized Barrett as a dream for the right but a nightmare for the left.
“It is impossible to overstate how much is at stake, not only for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, but for our entire country,” said Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings in a recent blog post. “If confirmed, Judge Amy Coney Barrett will unleash a Supreme Court majority that is hostile to all of our basic civil rights, and the impact will be felt for decades.”
Below, read up on four examples of why Barrett poses a threat to the queer community.
Barrett opposes marriage equalityChen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images
Marriage equality was officially legalized nationwide in 2015, but if Barrett had her way, we’d still be fighting that battle. The conservative judge, also a devout Catholic, believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. In 2015, she signed onto an anti-marriage equality letter citing the “indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman” and the “significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women.”
She doesn’t believe the marriage equality ruling is “superprecedent”
Judge Barrett refused to respond to questions posed regarding whether she believes the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision qualifies as “superprecedent” (aka that no Justice would overrule).
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) September 25, 2020
Barrett has also expressed unwillingness to affirm the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, a sentiment that should “sound the alarm for anyone who cares about LGBTQ people and their families,” according to Jennings.
She’s skeptical of broad interpretations of abortion rightsBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
According to The New York Times, Barrett’s past academic writings have been skeptical of broad legal interpretations of abortion rights, leaving many fearful of how she’d rule if Roe v. Wade were challenged again. Abortion access is an issue that affects anyone in need of reproductive health care, including LGBTQ people. Barrett is personally pro-life, although she has said that it is “never appropriate” for a judge to impose their religious beliefs on their judicial decisions.
She’s given speeches for an anti-LGBTQ hate groupJabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Barrett has given speeches for members of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extremist organization designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s the same org that represented Jack Phillips, the bigoted owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, in his now-infamous LGBTQ discrimination Supreme Court case. Asked about ADF’s classification as a hate group, Barrett claimed the org was only opining on a matter of “public controversy.”