Neustadter: Amy Coney Barrett confirmation would have dire impacts on students

Corinne Neustadter

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

With the tumultuous nature of election season and the fervor of its news cycle, it seems like new developments are happening every day. One of the most inflammatory developments of this year’s election has been Senate Republicans pushing through a Supreme Court nominee after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


This nomination is in stark contrast to the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench in 2017, the result of a months-long standoff between the Republican-controlled Senate and President Barack Obama, who had previously nominated Judge Merrick Garland. Garland was denied a confirmation hearing by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell famously said, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice … therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Now, quite literally after millions of Americans have already voted, Senate Republicans are trying to push through a Supreme Court nominee who stands to have a devastating impact on the Supreme Court.

The process of Barrett’s hearing alone is entirely undemocratic. Her nomination is being pushed through in the midst of an election by a Senate unwilling to support a second COVID-19 relief package.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s public record indicates that, if confirmed to the Supreme Court, her ideological and litigious views would be devastating to students around the country.

Unlike any other Supreme Court nominee in over 30 years, Judge Barrett’s public record gives hints as to how she could vote on controversial issues. As University of Georgia School of Law professor Lori A. Ringhand said in the Los Angeles Times, “Judge Barrett … has a pretty extensive history of writing and speaking on controversial issues. She will be pressed on those issues (in her Senate confirmation hearing).”

Possibly her most pronounced stance is on the subject of reproductive rights, and more specifically, abortion rights. Barrett added her name to a list of “citizens of Michiana” endorsing a right to life ad calling for an end to abortion itself thereby and opposing the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.

Barrett’s confirmation hearing indicates uncertainty for the future of reproductive rights. In her hearing, Barrett did not acknowledge the cases Griswold v. Connecticut or Roe v. Wade as “super-precedents,” or in her own words, “cases that are so well settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling,” instead saying that overturning Griswold would be very, very unlikely.

“If Barrett is confirmed, she would have a significant influence over the reproductive healthcare of millions of women for the worse.”

Her former mentor, Justice Antonin Scalia, did believe “Griswold was decided incorrectly,” as Law and Crime put it, as he believed the constitution did not guarantee a right to privacy, to which Barrett responded by saying, “I have my own mind. Everything that he said is not necessarily what I would agree with or what I would do,” but Law and Crime reported that she “refused to say much more.”

These viewpoints are dangerous for women around the country, and especially for students. According to the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, “College students represent a vulnerable population at risk for poor outcomes and the negative consequences at the intersection of health and social issues.”


As of fall 2019, about 47.2% of college students were using the pill as a birth control method. However, a University of Michigan study found that when birth control is not covered by health insurance or subsidized by the government, it impacts more financially burdened groups the most, including “women without health insurance, women with credit card debt and older women.” For college women, increases in the cost of the Pill resulted in a 3-4% reduction in the number of women using it.

This means that reducing access to the Pill via increased prices hurts the most vulnerable groups of college women, which could prove significant in the coming months. The Affordable Care Act previously required insurance providers to cover the costs of contraception; however, a 2018 Supreme Court case now allows “any employer with a sincere religious or moral obligation” to opt out of covering birth control. 

After the November election, the Supreme Court will hear a case regarding the constitutionality of the ACA that could completely overturn the law. If Barrett is confirmed, she would have a significant influence over the reproductive healthcare of millions of women for the worse.

Barrett’s presence on the Supreme Court could significantly impact student access to birth control, which could have dire consequences for college women. Limiting access to healthcare, and especially reproductive healthcare, will unfairly impact students’ sexual behaviors as well as result in more unwanted pregnancies for an already overburdened group most vulnerable to health and social issues.

The nomination of Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court ignores the views of the American public. As of August 2019, 70% of Americans did not support overturning Roe v. Wade, while 61% believed abortion should be legal in “all or most cases.” It represents the perpetuation of a strictly ideological agenda by Senate Republicans to advance their views in the judicial branch in the event they lose power.

Barrett’s confirmation will cause undue harm to millions of women across the country, and it will be felt by the most vulnerable populations, including college students. It is a slap in the face to the strides late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made for women’s rights and needs to be acknowledged as such.

One of the most vulnerable senators this year is Senator Cory Gardner here in Colorado. While he previously said he would likely vote to confirm Judge Barrett, he is in danger of losing his seat this November, making him more vulnerable to public outcry.

To reach his office, you can call 202-224-5941 or via Twitter @SenCoryGardner to express your opinion. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Thursday. Make your voice heard on this paramount issue before it’s too late.

Corinne Neustadter can be reached at or on Twitter @cneustad.