The battle to get Donald Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed by the Senate is beginning. The shifting ideological balance of the court will have an impact in all areas of American life and across the US – perhaps in no place more than Texas.
Susan Lippman, a Democratic activist in Austin, Texas, was sitting in her car when she heard the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died.
“I’m not too emotional,” she says. “But I let fly. I was raging and screaming. Pounding the steering wheel.”
Lippman instantly knew the impact that the loss of Ginsburg, a liberal legal icon, would have on the ideological composition of the court. If Donald Trump could successfully replace her with his choice for a justice, it would secure the conservative tilt of the top US judicial body for a generation.
So, a week after Ginsburg’s death, Lippman and her friend, Debbie White, were heading to protest outside the office of Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican senator who has pledged to confirm Ms Coney Barrett.
White says a 6-3 conservative majority in the court could directly attack Democratic Party priorities like government-managed healthcare and access to abortion services.
“I’m afraid that it’s going to do away with some very important things like the Affordable Care Act, which would be just awful because that would bother so many lives,” White says. “All the women’s rights and women’s health issues are a goner on a conservative Supreme Court.”
While the political battle over Trump’s appointment of Barrett is taking place between the White House and Democratic senators in the US Capitol, some of the biggest legal fights that have made it to the Supreme Court in recent years have come out of Texas.