Concern Mounts in SCOTUS Confirmation Hearing

Beyond the Carolinas

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the Trump administration’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, tensions and concerns have come to the forefront as to Coney Barrett’s viability as a neutral justice.

The hearings were held during the week of Oct. 12 and will continue with a tentative committee vote on Oct. 22, followed by a floor vote on Oct. 23 or shortly thereafter, according to Lambda Legal. At that point she will either be disqualified or confirmed to take the seat on the U.S.’s highest court.

One thing that LGBTQ activists do see is that Coney Barrett is in strong opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2015 she signed onto a letter in support of marriage between men and women only.

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Lambda Legal also reported that Coney Barrett had misguided views on transgender individuals scrutiny with regard to Title IX protections, transgender military ban and other issues. Lambda Legal expressed their concern over Coney Barrett’s “apparent lack of commitment to racial equity” and her affiliation with anti-LGBTQ organizations.

Lambda Legal sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging the members to oppose Coney Barrett.

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s record is filled with red flags that should disqualify her from sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. Given her perverse, reactionary judicial philosophy, Judge Barrett is unfit to fill the seat, much less the shoes, of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said Sasha Buchert, Lambda Legal senior attorney. “Furthermore, this rushed confirmation process undermines the integrity of the Court and betrays the legacy of Justice Ginsburg. The politically motivated decision of the Senate Judiciary Committee to rush this confirmation process will further jeopardize the reputation of the Court, which must have the respect and confidence of the people in order to be effective. Our country cannot afford having the Supreme Court be seen as just another political branch — unbalanced and wielding disproportionate power.

“There is so much at stake for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV right now because so much of our civil rights progress has happened in the courts,” Buchert added. “Decades of hard work have led to legal victories such as the right to marry the person we love, to protect our families, to access health care and make decisions about our bodies. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s record is fundamentally at odds with basic guarantees of equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law for our communities. It is impossible for LGBTQ people to have confidence in Judge Barrett as her publicly available record makes clear that she would be unable or unwilling to respect and affirm our rights to equal protection of the laws.”

Further analysis of Coney Barrett’s record reveals opinions that would immediately threaten the Affordable Care Act — which has expanded health care coverage for more than 20 million people, and helped countless LGBTQ people and those living with HIV who are more than twice as likely to be uninsured.

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Lambda Legal shared that in a statement on Oct. 5 in Davis v. Ermold, authored by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and joined by Justice Samuel Alito, the justices indicated a desire to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the case granting marriage equality to LGBTQ people. The Obergefell decision was a close win and is vulnerable following the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In response, Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings stated, “The nightmare of a hostile Supreme Court majority is already here. The confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett haven’t even started yet and Justices Thomas and Alito are already creating a laundry list of cases they want to overturn. And unsurprisingly, marriage equality is first on the chopping block. Confirming Judge Barrett would be the final puzzle piece they need in order to make it happen.

“Overturning our right to legally marry the person we love and to protect our families would only be the beginning; none of the hard-fought rights that we have won in the courts are safe. That includes the right to marry, to work, or to be recognized as the legal parents of our children.

“But we will not be forced back into the closet. Lambda Legal has taken on tough fights before, beginning in 1973 when we had to sue for our very right to exist under New York law, and we’re ready for this one, too. We have come too far in the 47 years since we were founded to turn back now.”

Wilmington, N.C.’s Virginia Hager, an attorney and board chair of the Frank Harr Foundation, told WECT News, “If the right was taken away, it would be a huge step backward for the equal rights and civil rights of gay and lesbian persons in our community … [and cause] a lot of worry amongst the LGBTQ community.”

info: lambdalegal.org. bit.ly/3nLTgpt.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.

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