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Protests were held yesterday outside the Senate Office Building where the first day of the Judge Amy Coney Barett’s Supreme Court nomination hearing took place yesterday (October 12). Barett was nominated by US President Donald Trump to replace US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who recently passed away. Incidentally, experts believe that the president contracted COVID-19 at the announcement of Judge Barett’s nomination during a ceremony held at the White House Rose Garden. Experts criticized the ceremony, whose photos were widely circulated on social media after President Trump contracted the virus, because of the clear lack of social distancing and other health and safety guidelines such as wearing masks and limiting the numbers at the gathering. 

Graduating top of her class at the University of Notre Dame’s Law School, Judge Barett spent much of her career as a law professor before being appointed a federal appeals court judge in 2017 by US President Donald Trump. In a charismatic opening speech, she spoke about her personal values as a mother, a wife and also as a legal scholar and judge and stated that she did not feel her personal beliefs would stand in the way of her discharging her duties as a judge. She was supported by Republican senators who stated that they felt she was being unfairly discriminated against based on her religious beliefs. 

The nomination is highly controversial due to Judge Barett’s apparent involvement with the Catholic charismatic group People of Praise. The group’s strict rules which dictate that womens’ role as subordinates to men has been called into question as fears mount that if appointed, Judge Barett would help overturn the US Supreme Court landmark judgement Roe v Wade, which declared that a woman’s right to an abortion could not be prohibited by the government. Concerns also loom that Judge Barett, who is supported by the Republicans, will make decisions which undermine the civil rights concerns of the Democrats. Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris has also criticized President Trump’s decision to hold the confirmation hearing at this time, calling into question the priorities of the Republican Party and requested that the nomination be held after November’s Presidential Election. 

Experts and political commentators noted that the first day of the nomination hearing seemed to focus more on political issues surrounding the upcoming Presidential election rather than issues related to Judge Barett and her competence. 

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