WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court despite a boycott by Democratic senators:
“Just days before voters elect the next president, with nearly 60 million ballots already cast, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate ignored the will of the people and installed another ideological soulmate for President Donald Trump on the Supreme Court. It’s a flagrant miscarriage of justice, and it flies in the face of our representative democracy. In fact, McConnell and Judge Amy Coney Barrett said so themselves, in 2016 when President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court nearly nine months before the presidential election. But, as usual, Senate Republicans have changed the rules and trampled on the voices of the very people who elected them. To them, it was never about appointing a qualified judge to simply apply the law; they want Barrett on the court because of her right-wing views on access to healthcare, reproductive rights and freedom, voting rights, LGBTQ equality, immigrant justice, criminal justice, disability rights, and other issues that make a difference in the lives of most people. This confirmation should frighten every person in this country who believes in fairness, rules, and having a say in how we’re governed.
“Barrett’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court swings it in an extreme direction that does not reflect the values of the American people. Make no mistake: This Senate chose to fast-track a political process instead of passing COVID-19 relief and helping the millions of Americans struggling to find work and access care during this pandemic. This choice reflects a pattern of cruelty and neglect that should disqualify every one of them from public office.
“But even under normal circumstances, Barrett’s record is enormously troubling. Throughout her brief career as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, she ruled to undermine the rights of workers and against sexual assault survivors. At her confirmation hearing, she evaded questions on the right of Americans to have access to healthcare, Medicare and Social Security; she refused to acknowledge systemic racism; and she was not clear that discriminatory barriers in voting exist. Barrett even refused to acknowledge basic facts about our democracy—that presidents should commit to a peaceful transition of power, that voter intimidation is illegal, and that presidents cannot change the date of an election. Her judicial philosophy closes every door that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg ever opened.
“The fight over the Supreme Court goes far beyond this confirmation. As educators, we defend democracy every day—in our classrooms, in our communities and beyond. We remain committed to fighting for a Supreme Court that truly represents the will of the American people—one that works for all of us and upholds our highest values. And we will continue to fight every day until we have achieved equal justice under the law.”