If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, the body, already leaning to the right, would be an ultra-conservative court the likes that we have not seen in decades.
By Richard Saenz, Senior Attorney, Criminal Justice and Police Misconduct Strategist
If Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, the body, already leaning to the right, would be an ultra-conservative court the likes that we have not seen in decades. The new make-up of the court, made up of nine justices, could slam the courthouse doors shut to many incarcerated people and LGBT+ people or those seeking to hold police officers and prison system accountable.
The court could radically change the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In Farmer v. Breenan, (1994), a case originally filed by Dee Farmer, a Black transgender woman, the court ruled that a prison officials’ “deliberate indifference” to substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the Eighth Amendment.
This standard has been applied in thousands of cases, including Lambda Legal’s cases on behalf of LGBT+ people who experienced violence or sexual assault while in custody, or people who were denied medical treatment such as hormone therapy due to a discriminatory policy.
A more stringent standard could make it even more difficult for incarcerated people to bring cases against officials – especially given the fact that many of these cases are brought without an attorney.
There is already reason for alarm.