The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is deeply concerned about the Senate’s poor decision to begin consideration of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the midst of a catastrophic pandemic, the likes of which have not been seen since the 1918 flu. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from COVID-19, millions have become ill, and tens of millions have lost their jobs. America is in the worst recession since the Great Depression.
It is unconscionable that at a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, food insecure, unable to pay their rents, sick, and even dying, the Senate chooses to consider the hyper-partisan nomination of a radical judge to become a Supreme Court Justice instead of dealing with the immediate crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, it shows contempt toward the average American who has been impacted – directly or indirectly – by COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis. To demonstrate its commitment to the American people, the Senate must pass a COVID-19 supplemental appropriations bill that meets the needs of survivors and everyday Americans rather than large corporations and special interests.
The House of Representatives has twice passed legislation to provide economic relief to the American people, with important supplemental funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs – programs that are dealing with a surge of need from victims and survivors while also experiencing a decrease in donations. The Senate has failed to consider either of these measures, despite overwhelming support from their constituents for another COVID-19 supplemental funding bill.
“As we continue to address the impacts of the pandemic as a nation, we must not only consider but center the struggles of those most vulnerable during this time, including victims and survivors of domestic violence,” says Ruth M. Glenn, President/CEO of NCADV. “It is evident that the people who are experiencing this pandemic most dramatically are not at the forefront of the work of the Senate. Desperately-needed relief is necessary to provide critical services to domestic violence victims and survivors, services that will ensure safety and support as they work to leave the violence they are experiencing.”
In addition, Amy Coney Barrett poses a danger to victims and survivors of domestic violence. A woman is killed by an intimate partner with a firearm every sixteen hours in the United States – and in 2015, 92% of women killed by a firearm in a developed country were Americans. Armed abusers pose a substantial risk to their victims and their communities, but Barrett previously has sided with the gun lobby in cases such as Kanter v. Barr, in which she dissented from a finding that firearms prohibitors for certain felonies were constitutional. A Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett would pose a danger to the lives of survivors.
Instead of confirming Barrett, the Senate must focus on meeting the needs of survivors and everyday Americans by passing a bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 relief bill that includes a mechanism to increase deposits into the Crime Victims Fund and provides funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services, with a focus on culturally-specific organizations. The American people, including survivors and victims of domestic violence, do not want partisanship and hypocrisy – they want to be able to pay their rents and mortgages and put food on their tables.