Women’s groups on Monday slammed Senate Republicans for confirming President Trump’s nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, saying they participated in a “malicious theft” of a vacancy on the high court, and called the confirmation process “an illegitimate power grab.”
The Senate voted to confirm Barrett to the vacancy on the high court left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday. The Senate voted 52-48 on Barrett’s nomination, marking President Trump’s third Supreme Court justice of his administration. The last president to nominate three new justices to the Supreme Court was Ronald Reagan.
But Planned Parenthood slammed the confirmation process, and Barrett, as a “threat” to women’s health and rights.
“In the midst of a global health crisis, with more than 225,000 dead in this country, Mitch McConnell prioritized this sham process over passing desperately needed COVID relief — and he openly admitted it,” Planned Parenthood Action president Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement after the vote. “Senate majority leadership has compromised the safety and well-being of Americans by ignoring this pandemic, and they’ve done it to confirm a Supreme Court justice who will be an active threat to our health and rights.”
Johnson went on to say that this “is a lifetime position, and this partisan, malicious theft of the people’s seat will be felt for generations to come.”
“For decades, this change in the court will threaten our civil rights, access to health care, freedom to marry, legal protections from discrimination, and reproductive health and rights,” Johnson continued.
Johnson, though, said that Barrett’s confirmation to the high court is over, but looked ahead to next week’s presidential election.
“We are far from defeated,” Johnson said. “This phony confirmation process is over but this election is not. We deserve leaders who respect our wishes and who champion our health and rights — and we’re going to make absolutely sure these senators and Donald Trump know that.”
Planned Parenthood provides patients access to a wide range of health and reproductive health services, including birth control and abortions.
Meanwhile, EMILY's List, a PAC that supports Democratic women running for office on abortion rights platforms, slammed the confirmation of Barrett just week’s before Election Day an “illegitimate power grab.”
“That’s what we just witnessed from Senate Republicans so that they can overturn the Affordable Care Act, undermine reproductive freedom, and jeopardize our fundamental rights,” EMILY’s List tweeted shortly after Barrett was confirmed to the high court Monday night.
Barrett, a devout Catholic, has been criticized by women’s groups and those on the left for her views on abortion, but the now-Supreme Court Justice during her confirmation hearing earlier this month declined to respond to questions about abortion cases before the high court, saying she “cannot pre-commit” while saying she has “no agenda.”
Barrett simply stated that she will “obey all the rules” and will apply “all factors” relating to precedent and “reliance and workability.”
“All the standard factors,” Barrett explained. “And I promise to do that for any issue that comes up, abortion or anything else, I’ll follow the law.”
It's common practice for court nominees to stay quiet about how they would rule on certain issues so as not to prejudge the cases that could come before them. So senators rely on past statements, legal writings and court opinions to understand how a nominee would rule on Roe v. Wade.
Barrett has been scrutinized by Democrats over how her faith could influence her work, dating back to her confirmation to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. During the hearing, Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, had to assert numerous times that her faith would not influence her jurisprudence.
In a 2013 Texas Law Review article, Barrett listed fewer than 10 cases she said are widely considered “super-precedents,” ones that no justice would dare reverse even if they believed they were wrongly decided. Among them was Brown vs. Board of Education, which declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
One she didn’t include on the list: Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that affirmed a woman’s right to abortion. Scholars don’t include it, she wrote, because public controversy swirling around it has never abated.
Abortion and women's rights were the focus of the bruising 2017 confirmation process after Barrett's nomination to the 7th Circuit.
Others pointed to Barrett's membership of the University of Notre Dame’s “Faculty for Life” group – and that she had signed a 2015 letter to Catholic bishops affirming the “value of human life from conception to natural death.”
Despite concerns from Democrats, Barrett, in a 1998 Notre Dame Law School review article, wrote that “Judges cannot — nor should they try to — align our legal system with the Church's moral teaching whenever the two diverge. They should, however, conform their own behavior to the Church's standard. Perhaps their good example will have some effect.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.