Pennsylvania voters may well decide who becomes the next president. As President Donald Trump names his choice for the United States Supreme Court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, many women in Philadelphia are bracing themselves.
They’re preparing for a Supreme Court with three Trump appointees to set off a generation of conservative decisions, a legacy long outlasting the presidency itself.
“I think if a conservative judge is in that seat, everything will be reversed,” said Brie Golphin, who participated in the March to End Rape Culture Saturday in Philadelphia. “Roe v. Wade, protections for LGBT people, I think all the things that happened in the last 10 years and more, it’s all just gonna go to waste.”
On Saturday, Trump announced his nomination for 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett, a Metairie, Louisiana native whose time on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has earned her a reputation as a favorite among conservatives.
Ginsburg’s vacancy plunges the Supreme Court and its potential to make landmark decisions about health care, abortion access and the outcome of the presidential election into the limelight in an election year whose life and death repercussions already seemed too many.
There are a few ways that the potential for a 6-3 conservative majority on the court could sway voters. Assuming Senate Republicans have the votes to confirm Coney Barrett, which it appears they do, they could wait to push the nomination through until after the election, regardless of its outcome, in an effort to mobilize conservative voters to come out the polls.
Alternatively, Republicans could move more quickly in an attempt to swiftly secure the seat before the election. That route could render the Supreme Court vacancy from being a factor in voters’ decision-making since the justice would have already been selected, and Democrats have yet to threaten court-packing or other judicial consequences that would negate the effects of a swift confirmation hearing.
A conservative majority would likely mean an end to the Affordable Care Act, which Donald Trump has vowed to dismantle since he took office. The case challenging it is scheduled to be heard by the high court immediately after the general election in November.
“Especially with the coronavirus impacting Black and brown communities at disproportionate rates, if we didn’t have the Affordable Care Act, I really can’t imagine what would have happened,” Golphin said. ”The death toll would’ve been much higher.”