HYVC Discusses Policy Part Two


For the third article in our series, we wanted to give our readers a better sense of our committee’s political philosophy and beliefs. In this article, we asked 6 of our members to answer questions regarding the recent Supreme Court hearings of Amy Coney Barrett and the United States’ environmental action. This is the second part in a 2-part series; see the first group’s opinions here.  

With the current Supreme Court hearings of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, some have begun to criticize her hesitance to answer questions, especially on the topic of abortion and Roe v. Wade. What are your thoughts on criticisms towards the religious influence that some she’ll bring to the court, as well as the idea of packing the court?

Thomas Batteur: With every question thrown at her, she gave careful consideration in her selection of words, doing her best to not give any insight on any ongoing court cases, election matters, or social justice issues. Justice Barrett has remained clear on her position to remain grounded by the Constitution, in line with her originalist philosophies. I believe that in her rulings, Barrett will stick to her judicial philosophies rather than taking aspects of her faith and personal beliefs into consideration. In terms of packing the court, I notice that many individuals on both aisles tend to politicize the Supreme Court, further hindering its ability to act effectively. As this situation can only be determined through the results of the election, we must continue to be mindful to not over-politicize the Supreme Court.

Lana Burke: While watching the hearings, I have begun to notice that she does avoid almost all important questions. Though I think this is a matter of strategy, it is important, as a member of government, to allow the people to gain an understanding for those who will be enforcing the law. In the hearings, she gave little to no information on where she stands on the subject of Roe v. Wade, and abortion as a whole. Since she identifies as a Republican, she automatically gets the label of holding pro-life beliefs. Therefore, people on the other side may have already made up their minds about what she believes.

Sarina Goyal: I feel that the separation of church and state is an important concept that should be followed in order to maintain our democracy. Since the United States is composed of people with diverse religious beliefs, it is unjust for those in government to push their beliefs onto others and use them as the deciding factor when making policies.

Olivia Kim: In regards to the criticism Justice Amy Coney Barrett has faced over her strong religious ideologies, I would say that it is more important to focus on her specific stances in the context of the Constitution. It’s easy to get lost arguing over religion and secularism, but in the end, a fair interpretation of the Constitution matters most. It is my opinion that removing the precedent set by Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional and violates the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens. It’s frightening that our rights could be turned over. I’m anti-court packing. While some political scientists have made great arguments for the benefits of court packing, I think our country’s current state is too tumultuous to handle that right now.

Erika Kurre: Personally, the multiple video clips of Amy Coney Barrett’s failure to answer questions were concerning. Nonetheless, she did admit to signing advertisements opposing abortion and mentioned that Roe is a case that should be revisited. Women across the country are scared, and rightfully so; with a 6-3 conservative majority, the case can easily be revisited and struck down. From past articles I have seen, it seems as though her faith could ultimately result in her rulings following her personal religious beliefs.

On the idea of court packing, I see both the benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, with a conservative majority, people’s basic human rights could be taken away, and court packing could help stop this. However, on the other hand, if Democrats are able to pack the court, Republicans would easily be able to add on more justices and continue court packing if they regain that power—although, Republicans have been indirectly court packing for years. 

Jordan Teicher: I personally think that the criticism towards Judge Barrett’s religious influence is unreasonably biased. The truth of the matter is that by giving any statements on how she would vote on a certain issue, such as abortion and Roe v. Wade, would be unethical as it would go against “The Ginsburg Rule.” The rule, heavily influenced by Joe Biden, states that no judge should give any insight, forecast, or preview including mixing personal opinions into their statements as could interfere with a case. On the idea of court packing, I think it is childish. Court packing, which was created by President F.D.R, was meant to force justices onto the Supreme Court in order to get a favored ruling on a bill. 

Climate change is a scientifically proven issue that will almost certainly show its effects on our generation and generations to come. What do you believe is necessary to address this issue and do you think the Trump administration (and prior administrations) have done enough to address this?

TB: Climate change must continue to be a main priority on any president’s agenda, despite their political ideologies. It is no doubt that we must continue to reduce emissions, transition to renewable energy in order to develop a more sustainable future. The main concern posed by this transition was the possible economic tolls from restricting certain industries, which resulted in the U.S. leaving the Paris Climate Accord. Trump cited that as the U.S. was limited in the future output of certain industries, other countries such as India and China would remain unregulated by this deal. As some of these concerns were valid, many of Trump’s opinions regarding the promotion of mining and “clean coal” are quite questionable. The United States must emphasize sustainability, however, maintaining and creating jobs should always remain in the forefront. Furthermore, the effort to reduce climate change should not be done alone, as the United States should enter in agreements where all parties will contribute equally.

LB: The climate change issue is one that I have struggled to understand, particularly on the side of the Trump Administration. It is frustrating to see that they have called climate change a “hoax,” with Trump himself doubting science and saying, “It’ll start getting cooler.” In my opinion this issue is not one of politics, but of the entire world as a collective unit. In order to preserve our civilization for as long as we can, we need to be helping it in any way we are able. Therefore, I don’t see why there is such a large dispute between Democrats and Republicans. While the Trump Administration has not done enough, climate change is the fault of human beings as a collective, not one party or another, therefore should not be represented as such.

SG: I believe that immediate change is necessary and that if our current leaders do not enact policies to help the environment, it will soon be too late. This administration has ignored the issue and claimed it does not exist when they should be working to impose limits on large companies that emit toxins, invest in large scale renewable energy sources, and inform the country of the dangers we face as a result of climate change.

OK: I think the Trump administration has been awful in its treatment of environmental issues, which is in line with the general anti-science stance shown by Trump. Climate change is the greatest crisis that we are facing as a nation and a world, and it should be one of the main items on any administration’s list to address. I would like to see stricter policing of big companies, taxation on pollution by big companies, policy to switch to full clean energy, limitations on fracking, and more effort to work cooperatively with other countries to address the crisis.

EK: Climate change continues to endanger our future, and we must enact change to try and combat this issue immediately. Currently, this seems impossible with the Trump administration in power. If the U.S. does not make some serious changes, climate change will soon be irreversible. It is insane to me that the Trump administration can be so naive to completely disregard the science and call climate change a hoax. We need to elect officials into office who will fight for clean energy and environmental justice; many Democrats have a version of a green deal they hope to employ. I hope for the sake of our future and environment, Joe Biden wins and is able to enact laws and changes in hopes to slow or reverse climate change. Although his plan is not as progressive as the Green New Deal, it is much better than no climate plan at all. 

JT: I believe that forcing foreign countries to assist in fighting climate change is the best current solution to the issue. I can personally say that the Trump administration, including past presidential administrations, has done as much as possible to fight climate change. When it comes down to the basics, the United States president can only do so much about climate change before it reaches foreign borders where they have no influence. As of 2018, statistics show that China contributes 2x as much global pollution as the U.S. and because the President and his administration don’t have a direct influence in China, he can not be blamed.