Amy Coney Barrett, who was reportedly a frontrunner to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court in 2018, is allegedly a major frontrunner to now replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But Coney Barrett’s nomination would be devastating to the LGBTQ+ community, with the Human Rights Campaign even calling her an “absolute threat” to queer people.
“Amy Coney Barrett’s history tells a story of anti-LGBTQ ideology, opposing basic rights thought to be settled law, and an anti-choice ideology out of step with popular opinion,” notes an HRC press release.
Ginsburg’s death sets up a major political battle to fill the now-empty SCOTUS seat with less than 50 days before the 2020 Presidential election. Barely an hour after her passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would vote on confirming a Trump nominee to the Court, although he did not provide a timeframe for the confirmation process in relation to the election (in a statement to the Senate floor on Monday, he said a vote would occur “this year”). Hours after, President Trump noted an “obligation” to choose a new SCOTUS judge “without delay.”
Now, however, Amy Coney Barrett has been put forth, and her political history is concerning — to say the least. Prior to her 2017 appointment to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, she signed a letter promoting the idea that marriage was “founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.” Barrett also worked as a clerk to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was known for his harshly ultraconservative and anti-LGBTQ+ views. The judge has also dismissed landmark cases. On Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, Barrett questioned whether the court even had the right to make the decision — or if it should be on a state-by-state basis. She also dismissed the major implications and importance of Roe v. Wade, saying it was “created through judicial fiat.”
Barrett also has a number of personal and professional connections to anti-LGBTQ+ groups. The American Family Association and the American Principles Project, both staunchly against LGBTQ+ rights, backed her nomination in 2018. She’s also tied to Alliance Defending Freedom, which has authored numerous anti-trans bathroom bills across the country and defended an anti-LGBTQ+ Colorado baker in a 2018 headline-making SCOTUS case.
Another tie Barrett has is her membership in People of Praise, an interdenominational Christian group that the New York Times wrote about in 2017.
“Some of the group’s practices would surprise many faithful Catholics,” reads the Times article. “Members of the group swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another, and are assigned and are accountable to a personal adviser, called a ‘head’ for men and a ‘handmaid’ for women. The group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family.”
It’s not solidly known yet if Barrett is considered Trump’s frontrunner for the Supreme Court seat vacancy, though an announcement is expected later this week. She has, however, garnered the most attention and criticism of all known potential nominees. If Trump is able to secure the 51 votes needed to confirm her to SCOTUS, it would be a complete 180-degree change from the values of the late Justice Ginsburg.