Liberty And Justice For …

New Supreme Court Justice swings Court to the right

Towards the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed after the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The shift to the right could indicate a major change in future Supreme Court decisions.

The Pylon asked algebra teacher Stephanie Johannes and junior Brayden McKnight, who are from opposite ends of the political spectrum, to voice their thoughts on the new nomination and how it might affect our country going forward.

Brayden McKnight poses in front of Trump flag.

Conservative Supreme Court justices now outnumber liberals 6-3.

“I think Barrett’s appointment has the ability to cause a lot of division among people, particularly creating a larger divide between parties,” Johannes said. “Her appointment does make the Court a conservative majority, which I think will impact future decisions much more than if there was not a conservative majority.”

A conservative-leaning Court could have a big effect on hot-button topics such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

“I do think the new dynamics of the Supreme Court could affect my life,” Johannes said. “The Supreme Court is the only reason I am legally allowed to get married in Kansas. It is also the only reason I am legally protected to work in this school district.”

“Theoretically, a majority conservative Court could mean that future rulings place constraints on my ability to live my life to its fullest.”

McKnight said that Barrett’s addition and the conservative majority will be better for the people.

Stephanie Johannes standing behind the American flag. (Photo credit: Hannah Watkins)

“I like the Supreme Court right now because of the Republican majority,” McKnight said. “I believe Barrett is a great fit. She is a very religious woman and is very smart with how she executes things.”

“I do support her being in office and I know she will do great things. She will stick by the Constitution and serve the United States with great honor. She is a huge believer in the man above and a patriot. That’s why I believe she will be great.”

The confirmation of a new justice was controversial because it came at the end of Trump’s term rather than letting the election play out.

“I do feel that her appointment to the Court was rushed and would rather have seen it wait until after the presidential election,” Johannes said. “Back in February of 2016, when Justice Scalia died, Representative (Mitch) McConnell stated that the new appointment of a justice should be delayed because the presidential election was that year. Fast forward to this year, when Justice Ginsburg dies with less than two months before the election, Representative McConnell completes the hearings and Justice Barrett is confirmed before the election even begins.” 

An opportunity to diversify the Court was missed, Johannes said.

“To my knowledge, the Court has never had a Muslim, homosexual, bisexual or transgender justice, nor a justice of Asian or Native American descent,” she said. “Diversity on the highest court in our country would provide varying opinions, which would lead to rulings that represent the diversity of our country.”

McKnight, on the other hand, was happy to see things happen the way they did.

“I like the Supreme Court right now because of the Republican majority,” he said. “President Trump is an extremely smart man. So I think he nominated her so that he had one of the last punches before the election in case he didn’t get re-elected.”