By Luke Scheider ’20
After Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, President Barack Obama pushed for Merrick Garland, a qualified appellate judge, to take his Supreme Court seat. However, the majority Republican Senate announced that they would not consider any of Obama’s nominees. This action was deemed unconstitutional in a letter signed by over 350 law professors. This made it clear that they were holding out for a possible Trump presidency.
Currently, controversial and hazardous laws and orders are being passed, the constitutionality of many of these laws and orders will almost certainly be called into question in the Supreme Court, and a Republican court would only continue to reaffirm the horrendous laws already being enacted by the Republican congress and president.
Trump’s immigration travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries will likely be called into question by the Supreme Court. The legality of this executive order has already been questioned by many judges and justices, and it has been partially halted by some federal judges. However, the Supreme Court has the power to overturn all decisions, furthering the Republican agenda to an even greater extent.
Another way that a fifth conservative judge on the Supreme Court could be detrimental is because they would support the enactment of the Mexico City policy and many other laws restricting access to abortions for many women across the country. A Supreme Court that reaffirms these laws could be the final nail in the coffin for many abortion providers. In places with very few options for abortion services, this could have terrible effects on the people who reside there. For example, the state of Mississippi has just one abortion clinic, and even that one clinic is in danger of shutting down.
If Gorsuch assumes the empty seat, Republicans hold a majority in all three branches of government, in effect, a monopoly on the United States. For example, this occurred in 1927 to 1933, which were the years leading up to and the first part of the Great Depression, and again from 2003 to 2007, which were the years right before the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. The Republican Party will have complete control of the United States, allowing any number of drastic laws to be passed. When one looks at the correlation of these events, one can only speculate the awful laws that could be enacted with a fully Republican government coupled with a president who has promised radical reforms.
The nominee to this seat, Neil Gorsuch, does not alleviate any concerns of many sensible people of the U.S. He nearly always votes along party lines, so coupled with Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, he is very likely to nearly never challenge any of Trump’s executive orders or any of the conservative legislation that Trump signs into law. Gorsuch’s opinions share the strongest resemblance with those of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a firebrand conservative known for defending anti-sodomy laws and attempting to uphold school prayer. These extremists pose a threat to the freedom of the United States when put into a position of power.
As a traditional conservative, Gorsuch has ruled against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Along with providing health coverage for millions across America, the Affordable Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26. This allows young people to establish themselves in the world before they need to pay for health insurance. Obamacare sets people up to prosper, which further cultivates the economy. However, Gorsuch and the rest of the Republican Supreme Court could easily side with Congress and Trump and repeal Obamacare. This would hurt millions upon millions of young and disadvantaged people.
Complete control of the government by the Republican Party will allow Trump near complete control of the United States, putting our lives in the hands of someone unfit to serve.