Vaccine Blood Clots Cause Concern: Recent cases of blood clots linked to Johnson & Johnson vaccinations in USA.

With vaccines becoming more readily available to the general public, issues with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson immunization have arisen. As a result, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution has been halted.

This pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccine usage came after a series of side effects involving multiple cases of blood clots in vaccine recipients, one of which proved
to be fatal.

This is not the first Covid-19 vaccine that has had blood clot issues. In March, production of the AstraZeneca vaccine was stopped after a larger series of blood clots, eighteen of which were fatal. Due to these vaccine issues, the AstraZeneca vaccine has yet to be distributed in the United States.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was introduced to the European Union in early March, and was temporarily taken off the market in early April. As of Apr. 23, the European Union decided to reintroduce the vaccine back into the European Union.

This decision came after it was decided that the uncommon nature of the blood clots and a total amount of less than ten cases ultimately showed that the vaccine
would be okay to distribute along with a warning about the potential blood clot risk.

Due to the heavy correlation between young women and the Johnson & Johnson blood clots, France has made the decision to only use the Johnson & Johnson
vaccine on people aged 55 and older.

While there is not a lot of research into the cause of these blood clots, it has been heavily speculated that the blood clots could be a result of an interaction with
women’s birth control.

Johnson & Johnson have begun studies to look into the true cause of these blood clots and ways to prevent them. The company reached out to Moderna and Pfizer
to assist in research, but both companies declined the invitation, not wanting to interfere with the efforts already being made to look into the issue. AstraZeneca has, however, joined the research efforts, after their vaccine went through a similar ordeal.

As of the time of writing this, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has yet to be reintroduced in the United States, meaning that all United States vaccine recipients are
currently getting either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which are both two-shot immunizations.

Doctor Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is one of many doctors making the push to bring the Johnson & Johnson shot back to the United States. “If you take a theoretical million people who are infected with Covid, five thousand will die,” Dr. Offit said. “Therefore, the benefits of this vaccine clearly outweigh its risks.”

Dr. Offit also noted that while some people may have adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, others will have better results with it. “Whether
it’s because of where they live, or because they’re homebound, or it’s hard to get a second dose.” said Dr. Offit.

Sources : New York Times, CNBC, NPR

International Floods Displace Thousands: Recent weather catastrophes have forced many to evacuate their homes.

Recent flooding across the globe is forcing millions of people to struggle for survival. Severe storms have targeted island regions such as the coasts of Australia and large parts of Hawai’i, including the popular beach regions of O’ahu island.

The eastern state of New South Wales in Australia remains the worst affected territory on the continental island. During a relentless week-long downpour in March, emergency helicopters and boats attempted to rescue stranded residents according to Aljazeera. Authorities in eastern Australia issued flood warnings and evacuation orders throughout the month of March while the heavy rains continued to devastate the region with nearly 40 inches of rain in a week in some areas.

Most notably, the capital city of New South Wales faced severe challenges amidst the flooding. Thousands of people were evacuated from Sydney as the flooding swept into its western suburbs. Relentless rain triggered flooding the likes of which the city had not experienced
in 60 years. Rivers and dams struggled to contain the flood waters throughout the month, as New South Wales emergency services released a statement saying, “Flooding is likely to be higher than any floods since Nov 1961” according to Aljazeera.

Further to the north in New South Wales, flood waters have severely affected the land. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated that the region was experiencing a “one-in-100-year event” during the heavy rains and floods, according to Aljazeera. In the town of Windsor, located northwest of Sydney, Aljazeera reporters found that flood waters have overwhelmed the town’s main bridge and several large buildings.

More than 40,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes as the flood waters become more erratic and more dangerous. Despite the catastrophic flood levels, few casualties have been reported as of Apr. 5, according to NPR.

Meanwhile, further north in the Pacific, Hawai’i declared a state of emergency after severe flooding damaged homes and raised concerns over a possible dam failure. Gov. David Ige signed a proclamation in early March to release state funds to help people impacted by the extreme weather event. Ige’s proclamation covers all of the state’s counties, along with the city and county of Honolulu, according to NPR.

Over half a dozen homes were severely damaged or destroyed by flood waters on the island of Maui. Due to the heavy flooding, two bridges in Wong’s Village, O’ahu collapsed as a cement truck drove across, according to KGMB (CNN). The mayor of Maui pointed out that homes and bridges have been damaged in the ongoing flood emergency.

“This has been unprecedented flooding, and we will be making damage assessments,” Mayor Victorino said in a written statement, according to CNN. Victorino added that residents have told him it was the worst flooding they had seen in over two decades.

With tens of thousands of people displaced by the recent flooding around the globe due to torrential rain, efforts to mitigate damages and prevent weather catastrophes have taken an important role in the international arena. Concerns of climate change continue to drive efforts to prevent severe weather events and assist those affected by these disasters.

Sources: Aljazeera, NPR, CNN.

Myanmar Coup Protests Turn Deadly: This Southeast Asian country experiences widespread, fatal unrest.

Following the military coup d’etat in the beginning of February, Myanmar (also known as Burma) has seen numerous protests turn violent. The National League for Democracy (NLD) and the party’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, were stripped of their political power during a military take-over of the nation’s government last month. On Feb. 1, 2021, Myanmar’s army stormed the nation’s capital after claims of election fraud and detained Kyi while removing the elected government from office. Numerous military generals have been implemented into leading government positions.

Since the coup began, two NLD party figures have died in the military’s custody, while more than 60 protesters have been killed. Zaw Myat Linn and Khin Maung Latt, the NLD party members who have died in the military’s custody, were both arrested during anti-coup demonstrations in early March according to Aljazeera.

Large protests have swept the country as the state-run media warned anyone involved in the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) are committing “high treason” and could be sentenced to 22 years imprisonment or death. The military coup has upended daily life in Myanmar, causing hundreds of thousands of people to express frustrations and disapproval in the streets.

Meanwhile, civil servants and other essential workers have stopped working in protest against the army. According to Aljazeera, an alliance of influential worker unions has called for an extensive nationwide strike with the intention of causing a “full, extended shutdown” of the nation’s economy.

The widespread protests in the Southeast Asian nation have been met with extreme force. At least five people were wounded on Sunday, March 7, in Bagan, the nation’s former capital according to eyewitnesses. Security forces have killed over 60 protesters, often using live ammunition, as the civil unrest continues to increase, according to Aljazeera and the Irrawaddy, Myanmar’s popular news source.

Following protests in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar on Thursday, Mar. 18, thousands have fled their homes in Depayin Township. According to the military-controlled state media, three police officers, including a police captain, were confronted by protesters while on their way into the township. Two officers died as a result of the subsequent conflict between the two groups. This prompted the military to carry out a violent raid in Tei Taw village in the Sagaing Region, according to the Irrawaddy. Six people were arrested and two houses were burned as a result of the raid Thursday night.

Early on Friday, Mar. 19, two-hundred police officers and soldiers stormed a monastery in Thapyay Gone village. During their raid of the monastery, other officers were deployed back to Tei Taw to search abandoned houses for any remaining villagers. These actions have prompted several thousand people in surrounding villages to flee their homes in preparation for more military raids.

As of Mar. 19, the nation’s death toll during the protests has reached 231 people. Many people in Myanmar are seeking help from neighboring nations in their fight against the military coup and the resulting actions of violence.

Sources: Aljazeera, The Irrawaddy

Five Things to Know About Socialism: Misconceptions and history about this political and social ideology.

Throughout the United States’ history, “socialism” has been used as a scare word. During the Cold War, anti-communist propaganda forced an entire generation to know little about socialism yet despise it anyway. It is through this widespread misguidance that the United States was able to turn “socialism” into a curse word. I know the reader may not agree with everything written in this brief article; I only hope to provide a different, respectful perspective on what socialism is and how it functions.

First, the theory of socialism was developed in the early-19th century through thinkers like Robert Owen, Henri de Saint-Simon, and Charles Fourier. These political theorists developed the first theories of socialism. This early form of socialist thought has become known as “utopian socialism.”

Second, socialism is a political theory that exists as a modern phenomenon. This means that without the existence of the capitalist system, socialist thought would not exist as it does today. Because socialist theory first developed to critique the flaws of capitalism–the inequalities and injustices that befall the working class as well as minority groups of which the capitalist system takes advantage–socialism’s beginning relies solely on the existence of capitalism.

Third, socialism seeks to free the working class from the oppression of the elite class. Business-owning capitalists are known to increase profit in any way possible. This endangers the workers who labor for the capitalist owner. This is why labor unions developed in the American industrial boom of the late 19th- and early-20th centuries. Socialism seeks to put the means of production–the machinery, tools, and other labor-assistance–into the hands of the workers to democratically decide how the business should function.

Fourth, there are many types of socialism. Utopian socialism developed in the early-19th century. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels introduced “scientific socialism” in the mid-1800s with their published theory known as The Communist Manifesto. From these and other political theorists came the development of numerous socialist theories–Marxism, Agrarianism, State Socialism, and even Christian Socialism.

Last, socialism has its flaws. It can be forgotten or ignored by socialist thinkers of all ages that the ideology is flawed. There will always be problems that arise within any system of political-economy; whether capitalism, socialism, or even anarchism, societal problems will always exist. This does not mean we should not work to solve the problems that arise within the capitalist system. Rather, it means we should work harder to solve them. That is one truth of humanity–we have always worked to solve problems.

Sources: Political Ideologies by Paul Wetherly, Models of Political Economy (POLI-330R) instructed by Dr. Gramby-Sobukwe.

Winter Storms Cause Power Outages Across Texas

President Biden has declared a federal emergency for all 254 counties in Texas due to unprecedented freezing temperatures and snowy conditions. As of Feb. 15, United States federal agencies have coordinated and mobilized efforts to provide disaster relief to Texas residents, according to Reuters. The winter storm is not expected to let up in the southern state. As forecasts call for heavy snow and freezing rain to spread across the central and eastern United States, there is more concern about Texas residents’ well-being as the storms continue.

The winter weather crisis has disrupted energy distribution across large parts of the United States, hitting Texas energy companies the hardest. The abnormal icy weather in Texas has caused the United States’ biggest oil refineries to shut down and change operation strategies. The state’s power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), issued an alert requesting residents and businesses to conserve power, as well as implementing rotating outages. Record-breaking energy demands have caused concerns in Texas, as the extreme cold continues to drastically alter Texans’ lives.

The interruption in Texans energy has not been equal, however, with poorer areas losing power for days at a time, while others have maintained power throughout the storms. Areas which have maintained power have seen energy costs rise to over nine thousand dollars per megawatt. For reference, the average user uses about three quarters of one megawatt per month.

“We are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units,” ERCOT stated. The Governor of Texas has called for an investigation into ERCOT outages to find a sustainable solution.

With the recent single-digit temperatures, many large oil companies are shutting down refineries in Texas. Texas produces about 4.6 million barrels of oil a day, as it hosts some of the largest refineries in the United States.

Motiva Enterprises stated it was shutting down its Port Arthur, TX manufacturing complex, including the complex’s refinery. This refinery, which is the largest in the United States, is responsible for producing more than 630,000 barrels of oil per day.

Other refineries in Texas are also shutting down or altering operations to a minimal level, including Citgo Petroleum Corp., Kinder Morgan’s Natural Gas Pipeline Co., and Exxon.

“We are also getting reports of power outages across the Permian, which are expected to continue over the weekend [of Feb. 20] if the current weather system persists,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, according to Aljazeera.

Energy companies and crews across the country are working to ensure Americans do not go without power during the harsh winter storms. After Enbridge Inc.’s crude oil pipeline was halted because of power outages, spokesperson Michael Barnes stated, “Crews are working with electric utility providers to restore power to [the pipeline].” However, many of these outages are a direct result of interrupted gas supplies from limited refinery production. Gas production may not be restored until the weather becomes more mild.

In the meantime, 4.4 million Texans are without power during the most frigid temperatures in 100 years. Access to energy, however, is only one of the slew of issues for Texas residents during this weather catastrophe. Across the state, the roofs of homes, churches, and schools have been collapsing under the weight of ice due to buildings unprepared to sustain inclement weather. These architectural failings have results in state-wide displacement of Texas residents.

What began as unprecedented weather, has become a catastrophe affecting millions of people. The road to recovery for Texas will be a long and arduous one.

Sources: Reuters, Aljazeera, NPR

Image Description: Two TX residents prepare food outside their apartment complex during sustained outages. The weather has resulted in mass displacement for residents. 

Shell Energy Ordered to Compensate Nigerian Farmers: Dutch court says the energy corporation must pay for harmful oil spills.

After thirteen long years a group of Nigerian farmers are finally receiving compensation for oil leak damages. More than 15 years ago, two oil leaks polluted a pair of Nigerian villages under Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), a subsidiary of the British-Dutch energy corporation Shell Energy Retail, Ltd.

On Friday, Jan. 29, the Dutch Court of Appeal in Hague ruled that SPDC was at fault for “environmental degradation caused by pipeline leaks” in Oruma, Goi, and Ikot Ada Udo villages in the Niger Delta region according to Al Jazeera. The court ordered an undistinguished amount to be paid to the villages by the large British-Dutch company.

The leaks in the Niger Delta region spewed oil over a total area of around 60 soccer fields in Oruma and Goi.

A member of the group of plaintiffs, an 80-year-old farmer named Oguru, told Al Jazeera that pipeline leaks “have devastated farmland and waterways in the region” over the past decade and a half. SPDC remained reluctant to replace old pipelines over time, forcing farmers to watch helplessly as their crops died and their livelihoods withered away. Numerous and frequent appeals to SPDC by the villages for compensation and environmental clean-up had been ignored.

After receiving support from an environmental campaign group, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, the villages of Oruma, Goi, and Ikot Ada Udo filed lawsuits against Shell Energy Retail, Ltd. in 2008 in a Dutch court.

SPDC and other oil companies often blame oil leaks on sabotage; under Nigerian law, Shell could not be held liable if the oil leaks were the result of sabotage. However, on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, the Dutch court found it “could not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that saboteurs were to blame for the leaks” that destroyed crops in Oruma and Goi, according to Al Jazeera. The court determined that the oil leaks in Ikot Ada Udo were caused by acts of sabotage. The court further explained that the issue of whether Shell can be held liable for negligence in environmental clean-up in Ikot Ada Udo “remains open” according to ABC News.

A member of the group of plaintiffs from Goi, Eric Dooh, stated the court ruling in favor of Oruma and Goi farmers sets a “world-class precedent” that could give hope to those around the world who have similar cases against multinational oil companies according to Al Jazeera. Director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Donald Pols, hailed the ruling as a victory for small communities hurt by huge companies, according to ABC News.

Pols is quoted by ABC News, stating “Up until [Friday] morning, Dutch multinationals could act with impunity in developing countries…and this has changed now.”

“From this moment onwards, Dutch multinationals will be held accountable for their activities and their actions in developing countries. And that’s an enormous victory for the rights of law globally.”

The court also ruled that Shell Energy Retail, Ltd. and SPDC are required to implement a leak-detection system to a pipeline that caused one of the oil spills.

In a written reaction to the court ruling, SPDC expressed disappointment, stating it continued to believe the oil spills in Oruma and Goi were caused by sabotage, according to ABC News.

Shell has faced heavy criticism from local communities and activists over oil spills since the company’s discovery of Nigeria’s vast oil reserves in the late 1950s. Additionally, criticism of the multinational company’s close ties to government security forces taints the company’s reputation.

Sources: Al Jazeera, ABC News.

The Lies of Greenwashing

With the increasing commonality of discussions surrounding climate change, sustainable consumption has become a popular talking point in recent years. Large corporations and small businesses alike have taken to selling “green, sustainable, eco-friendly” products. Marketing such products seems like a great idea. However, environmentally friendly advertising does not necessarily correlate with environmentally friendly efforts. When companies mislead consumers to believe their products help the environment, this is known as “greenwashing.”

While it sounds like a good thing, greenwashing is deceitful and harmful. Companies lead consumers to believe that by buying or using their products, the consumer is helping to sustain or heal the environment. This is all well and good, if the products actually do what the marketing says they do. Often though, the products do little-to-nothing to protect the environment. Sometimes, the products are made in a variety of environmentally damaging ways.

Businesses are profit-motivated, which makes sense in our current political-economic structure. A small business owner needs to make as much money off of sales as possible in order to keep their business running and their family fed. A large corporation CEO wants to ensure the company continues to make profits so employees remain content and the money from excess profit continues to fill the bosses’ pockets. Without profit, families cannot live comfortably and bosses cannot live lavishly.

This is where marketing techniques come into play. Greenwashing, as first introduced by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986, relies on the good intentions of the consumers to buy more products from companies deemed to be “environmentally friendly,” while focusing less on the actual environmental harms of the product and its production process. Think about the various products you have bought recently that emphasized their
environmental benefits. How much of that advertising were words that had no real meaning? Marketing teams love to label products as “eco-friendly,” “green” and “natural” with little explanation of the terms.

It is easy to be fooled by green washing; after all, it is the marketer’s job to get more people to buy more products. Environmental consciousness is important in today’s society and companies have picked up on that. The push for paper straws can be attributed to this realization and to green washing. Yes, paper straws harm the environment less than plastic straws, but they are not entirely environmentally friendly.

Not every product advertising their environmental friendliness is practicing greenwashing, however. Companies that take steps to make their goods and their production processes healthier for the environment usually detail such efforts on their websites. Taking a few moments to learn where and how a company makes their products before buying from that company goes a long way to protecting the environment.

So while buying that “eco-friendly” product may seem like a good idea, it is best to research how its production affected the environment. We as consumers in a capitalist society hold a wonderful power–we have the power to determine what companies we give our money to. Make the right consumer decisions and help truly protect our environment. Taking the time to learn about environmentally friendly companies and products, when done properly, can only benefit our lives and the Earth.


President Trump and former Vice President Biden held separate town hall meetings in place of the typical Presidential Town Hall Debate on Oct. 15, 2020. In their respective town hall broadcasts, questions were presented to the candidates by a diverse group of voters. Some present in each town hall had already decided to vote for Mr. Trump, others had decided to vote for Mr. Biden, and others were still undecided in their vote.

To begin the President’s town hall, moderator Savannah Guthrie asked Mr. Trump questions about his COVID testing history and current Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The President avoided directly answering both questions.

Guthrie also asked the President to condemn white supremacy as well as the online conspiracy group QAnon. President Trump seemingly learned from his mistake from the first presidential debate and claimed to have historically condemned white supremacy in his town hall event. “I denounced white supremacy. I denounced white supremacy for years… I denounced white supremacy. I denounce antifa,
and I denounce these people on the left that are burning down our cities,” the President said.

When asked about the online conspiracy group QAnon, Mr. Trump claimed to be unaware of the group and its many conspiracies. Upon being further pressed, Mr. Trump said, “What I do hear about [QAnon] is that they are very strongly against pedophilia, and I agree with that.” QAnon has gained popularity recently with help from a small number of government officials who claim to believe and support some
QAnon conspiracies.

Voters were then given the opportunity to ask the President questions. For the rest of the town hall event, voters posed questions to Mr. Trump about his response to the pandemic, his stance on masks, immigration issues, and a handful of other current issues.

Vice President Biden held a town hall event in Philadelphia, Pa. on Oct. 15, 2020. In the town hall, voters were able to question the former Vice President almost immediately after the broadcast had begun.
During his town hall event, Mr. Biden vowed reverse the rollback of transgender rights that occurred during President Trump’s administration. “There should be zero discrimination,” Mr. Biden said. The former VP continued and, according to the New York Times, insensitively described a transgender person, saying his late son’s work to pass transgender protections as Delaware’s attorney general was
because of “a young man who became a woman.”

Pennsylvania is an important swing state in this election, and that fact did not elude Mr. Biden during his town hall event. When asked about his stance on fracking, an issue that concerns many Pennsylvanians, the former Vice President stated he did not want to ban fracking, but he would like to “stop giving tax breaks and subsidizing oil.”

“We don’t need to subsidize oil any longer. We should stop that and save billions of dollars over time,” Mr. Biden said. Former Vice President Biden has proposed ending new permits for fracking on federal lands, but has not supported a national ban on fracking, according to the New York Times.

When asked about the climate crisis, Mr. Biden stated he does not support the Green New Deal (GND). Though Mr. Biden’s website states the Green New Deal is a framework for his climate crisis response, Mr. Biden denied that the GND is being used for inspiration to combat climate change. Mr. Biden’s website says the GND is a “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”

The town hall events were meant to help undecided voters learn more about each candidate and reach a voting decision between the two candidates. Following these broadcasts, the final presidential debate was held on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Sources: The New York Times,

Texas Towns Discover Rare Amoeba

In late September, eight Texas cities were alerted to the presence of a brain-eating amoeba in the cities’ water supplies. This information has led to towns in southeast Texas to issue a disaster declaration. An advisory has been issued stating, “The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) at the direction of the Governor’s Office is working with Brazosport Water Authority to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” CNN reports.

The amoeba is commonly found in soil, warm lakes, rivers, and hot springs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, the amoeba has been the cause of the death of 6 year old Josiah McIntyre. The chance of becoming infected with the amoeba is rare but in these cases it can be dangerous. The state is currently in the process of disinfecting the water supply in southeast Texas. This process will take up to two or three months, according to Texas officials.

The executive director of the TCEQ remained concerned but informational during a press conference, saying, “The path forward for the citizens of Lake Jackson is not going to be one that’s short. We have to get through the boil water first, which could take two to three weeks, after that we have to get chlorine levels to a state that can burn the entire system, scour the system, and kill the amoebas. That could take up to an additional 60 days.”
Going forward, the CDC has said it will test Lake Jackson’s water once the process is complete to assure the safety of the water. Texas officials have stated that “all information points to this being isolated” according to CBS News.

Josiah McIntyre, the 6 year old boy who tragically passed away after being infected with the brain-eating parasite Naegleria fowleri, was said to have become ill with flu-like symptoms, according to his mother. His condition quickly worsened to the point where he was having trouble standing up and talking according to CBS Dallas. Shortly after this tragic event, Governor Greg Abbot issued a disaster declaration after testing revealed the water supply was infected with the brain-eating amoeba.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, environmental officials lifted the drinking water warning for Lake Jackson, stating that the infection is rare and can only affect residents if infected water enters the sinuses. Residents are cautioned to prevent water from getting into their nose when bathing, showering, swimming, and washing their face.

Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner John Hellerstedt declared that “You cannot get [the] infection from drinking the water” CBS reports.

Sources: CNN, CBS News, CBS Dallas.

SCOTUS Nominee Amy Coney: A brief detailing of Barrett’s background and judicial history.

With the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the subsequent nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the court vacancy, the country’s legal future seemingly hangs in the balance. In the tradition of proper checks and balances, the average American should remain
knowledgeable about the Supreme Court’s newly nominated justice.

Barrett grew up in New Orleans as the oldest of seven children. Her father, Michael Coney, provided for the family through his career in law. Working for the Shell Oil Company, Coney balanced his duties in the Church as an ordained deacon and his attorney duties for the big oil corporation.

Barrett attended Rhodes College in Tennessee, majoring in English Literature and minoring in French. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor in Arts before studying at Notre Dame Law School where she graduated first in her class in 1997. Following her highly productive collegiate career, Barrett spent two years as a judicial law clerk for an appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., before working for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1998 and 1999.

While practicing law in Houston, Texas, Barrett worked on the famous Bush v. Gore lawsuit that appeared in court following the 2000 United States presidential election. Barrett provided research and briefing assistance for Baker Botts LLP’s representation of George W. Bush.

Returning to Notre Dame Law School in 2002, Barrett taught courses including federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. While at Notre Dame, Barrett thrice received the “Distinguished Professor of the Year” award. She was named a Professor of Law in 2010 and held the Diane and M.O. Miller Research Chair of Law from 2014 to 2017.

In May 2017, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit following the retirement of Judge John Daniel Tinder. During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on her nomination, Barrett was questioned about a law review article she co-authored in 1998. In the article, Barrett argues that Catholic judges, a populace which includes Barrett, should in certain circumstances “recuse themselves from death penalty cases due to their moral objections” to capital punishment, according to Politico. Barrett is on record stating that, “My
personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge” according to a 2017 video newscast from C-SPAN.

There have been opposition efforts from progressive groups and activists since Barrett’s appointment to the Seventh Circuit, citing doubts to separate Barrett’s ability to separate her faith from her rulings on matters including LGBTQ+ rights and precedents, abortion and healthcare, as well as women’s rights and immigration issues.

Adding to the concerns, the New York Times has reported Barrett had signed an anti-abortion ad in 2006 calling to overturn the famous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, citing the belief that life begins at conception. This information directly contradicts her previous statements regarding her separation of faith and judicial proceedings. Barrett is now facing more backlash because of her recent nomination to the Supreme Court by President Trump.

Sources: Politico, C-SPAN, New York Times