Reproductive rights. Affordable health care. Dark money in politics. You already know what’s at stake in the hearings for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But there’s so much more.
Here are some of the many ways an even more conservative Supreme Court could weaken public goods in the future:
- The Center for Progressive Reform writes that Barrett could help strip our regulatory system of its “essential democratic features, transforming it into yet another vacuum cleaner with which the nation’s political and economic elites can suck up ever more wealth and power for themselves and away from the rest of us.”
- Legal scholar James Gray Pope says that nominating Barrett would help return the court to the late 19thand early 20thcentury when it stridently opposed rights to safe working conditions on the job and the ability of workers to organize.
- As the National Employment Law Project (NELP) writes, “Judge Barrett has proven she puts the wealthy and powerful first, and record shows that if confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, she would only further entrench the anti-worker, pro-corporation slant of this Supreme Court.”
- Earthjustice explains how Barrett appears willing to undermine our government’s ability to keep air and water clean by protecting communities—especially those of color—from pollution and climate change.
- The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund writes that Barrett has a record of openly opposed equal protections for LGBTQ people and thinks that federal anti-discrimination laws do not protect transgender people.
- The American Immigration Council says that, especially if Trump were reelected, a more conservative court could further limit the rights of asylum seekers and other immigrants, particularly those who are poor.
No doubt a Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett on it will weaken many—if not most—of the public goods we all rely on and that make the country safer, fairer, and healthier.
But this also underscores a fundamental truth: Change doesn’t happen without people and movements that make it happen.
The women’s movement. The civil rights movement. The labor movement. The environmental movement. These and others all made progress despite setbacks along the way.
The coming years will require coherent and focused legislative action at every level of government to establish the primacy of public goods and the ability of public institutions to protect the common good.
May the high stakes inspire us.