With two controversial candidates on the ballot in 2016, Americans believed that would be the election of their lifetime—until now. A spotlight on racial injustices and environmental awareness have contributed to an already chaotic election season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice by President Trump has only added to the concern for the future of the country.
President Trump nominated 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barret to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September and she was sworn into the Supreme Court just over a month later. Justice Barret became the third Supreme Court Justice to be nominated and appointed by Donald Trump in just his first term in office as president. The passing of Justice Ginsburg allowed the administration to solidify a conservative majority on the highest court in the land.
A conservative majority on the supreme court has had profound effects on the Democratic morale, inciting them to vote blue no matter who in an effort to begin the legislative process to expand the Supreme Court to offset the current conservative leaning. This practice, commonly referred to as “packing the court” has a been a highly politicized process. The idea is that a larger, more diverse court would be more representative of the people. The intention is almost always to make the court’s make-up more agreeable to a certain agenda—although it can also be proposed out of fear of what a conservative opinion would mean for rights across the board.
According to an article published by The Atlantic Expansion of the Supreme Court is a practical power attributed to Congress in Article III of the U.S. Constitution. At the time of its ratification, there was a legitimate fear a federal judiciary comprised of a small number of judges with high powers would be despotic.
While Republicans are starkly opposed to expansion of the court, partly due to the conservative majority, Democrats such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have shown support for the idea of expansion in public and with a tweet reading, “Expand the court” after the confirmation of Justice Barret. Republican Senator Marco Rubio holds a totally different view of the controversial idea. In an editorial published on Fox News he explained his belief court-packing delegitimizes the Supreme Court by politicizing it.
Three new conservative judges in four years and a conservative Supreme Court has sparked fear in the lives of POC, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and numerous other minority groups. Their votes will be encouraged be this fear, which could lead to the result of this monumental election.
Due to COVID, results of the election will not be readily available as in previous years. It may take up to a few weeks to count through all the mail-in ballots. Check election updates here.