The United States Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday with a 52-48 partisan vote, Republicans the majority.
When speaking with local Republicans and Democrats regarding Justice Barrett’s confirmation, the opinions were predictably as divided as the votes that confirmed the 115th supreme court justice.
Santa Barbara County Republican chairwoman Bobbi McGinnis praised Justice Barrett for an “excellent” performance throughout her hearings and is optimistic that she will fulfill the duties of a Supreme Court Justice without legislating from the bench.
“I think she’s going to be a constitutional Supreme Court judge and I think she’s going to be an asset to our country,” she said. “We don’t want the supreme court to be creating law.”
Local Republican and Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business executive director Andy Caldwell said he likes Justice Barrett’s originalist judicial philosophy on the grounds that “changing the constitution without amending it is in violation of the spirit and letter of the constitution.”
He added, “It certainly can be amended, it’s been amended dozens of times via the prescribed manner of the law. To change it any other way by judicial fiat violates the basic tenants of the constitution and that of our constitutional republic.”
Mr. Caldwell also accused the Democrats for viewing the Supreme Court “through a partisan lens” rather than how it should be, “blind to politics.”
On the other hand, local Democrats viewed Justice Barret’s confirmation as nothing short of a travesty, and a hypocritical one due to the Republicans’ refusal to confirm Merrick Garland as the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 because it was an election year.
Santa Barbara County Democratic Party chair Gail Teton-Landis expressed outrage that Justice Barrett has been confirmed while an election is underway with tens of millions of votes already cast. She also objected to Justice Barrett not answering whether a president should commit to a peaceful transfer of power following an election and took issue with her originalist judicial philosophy.
Ms. Teton-Landis remarked that there is “little doubt” Justice Barrett’s originalism will threaten abortion rights, same sex marriage, and interracial marriage.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, also criticized the new Supreme Court Justice’s originalist philosophy and said the United States will “suffer” if the constitution is interpreted “as if we were living in the 1700s.”
“The constitution, as I see it, is a living, breathing document,” she said. “It recognizes the world in which we live.”
The senator fears that Justice Barrett’s confirmation will threaten the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, and environmental protection against climate change.
She said of the first possibility, “20 million Americans are not going to sit by idly as their rights to healthcare are taken away.”
Senator Jackson also criticized the Republicans for hypocrisy for confirming Justice Barrett this close to the election when they refused to do so for Merrick Garland.
“The rules of the game need to be consistent or democracy is going to collapse, and the way this was handled is just outrageous to me,” she said.