Kate Inman is a political science sophomore and Mustang News opinion columnist. The views expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
In the past four years of President Donald Trump’s first term, the American public has witnessed a mass appointment and confirmation spree carried out by the president with the unwavering support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The lifetime appointments of federal judges will result in Trump’s legacy extending beyond these past four years.
While most of the attention is drawn towards Supreme Court nominations, President Trump has also packed the lower courts. According to NPR, the president has appointed one-fourth of all U.S. Court of Appeals judges and one-seventh of all District Court judges. These predominantly white, young and conservative judges will lock down a stronghold on conservative legal issues for the foreseeable future.
President Trump pushed his third Supreme Court nominee through the Senate once more. The controversy surrounding the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett raises poignant concerns over the legitimacy of her appointment and the direction of the Supreme Court if she is confirmed. The originalist ideology Barrett embodies lends itself to limited government regulation and threatens abortion rights. What causes the most concern over Barrett’s ideology is her personal view of religious liberty, in that she will not separate her religion from her decisions.
Furthermore, the hypocrisy of the Republican party confirming Barrett is unmatched. McConnell’s refusal to hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland was attributed to the approaching election, deferring the Supreme Court seat to the American people. However, this very rationale seems to no longer apply, as the Republican Senate confirmed Barrett only days before the election. The politicization of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat threatens the independence of the judiciary and trust in the institution as a whole.
The lasting impact of the life-time appointments are already deeply rooted in the federal courts for the next several decades. This enduring contribution to the American system recklessly plays into the partisan divide and rocks the very foundation of our nation.