The appointment of Amy Coney Barrett at the US Supreme court, is it a danger for the women’s and LGTBQ+’s rights?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a progressist judge and an icon of feminist struggles. She died on the 18th of September 2020 of pancreatic cancer. Her death caused immense grief for feminist activists. Many people went to the supreme court to deposit commemorative objects to pay homage to her. It also raised a disagreement between Republicans and Democrats less than two months away from the presidential elections. D. Trump wants to designate a conservative judge before the 3rd of November which is the date of the presidential election. On their part, democrats want to wait until January hoping to win the presidential election.
The supreme court: the apex of judicial power
The supreme court of the US is not a simple court of justice, it is the apex of judicial power and the court of last instance. It has an immense impact on US society. Its function is to determine if decision, law, decrees developed by the different states or by the federal state are in conformity with the constitution. Its decision is without appeal. The decisions taken but the supreme court allow to decide on major societal issues. This is why composition is so important.
This court is composed of nine judges, including a president. The President of the US appoints them on a proposal; the senate must approve then. This appointment is for life which induces a certain irremovability. Until now, there were a majority of conservative judges. Five were appointed by r********n presidents of which two by Trump. In order to have a balance, the president of the supreme court, John G.Roberts, who is conservative, voted sometimes in favor of some and some other time in favor of others. However, this balance will surely be damaged after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Trump’s announcement of the replacement at the Supreme Court: bad news for women’s rights, gender equality and the LGBTQ+ movement
Trump has already announced the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett as the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the supreme court. She is conservative, a leader of the movement against the abortion and a figure of the religious right. She would be the sixth conservative judge at the supreme court. This means that it would lead to the Supreme court decisions being tilted the balance to the right-wing.
In other words, the appointment of this judge will conduct to a questioning of the acquired rights of women, homosexuals and transgender people. If Trump wins the next presidential, she will help him to abolish the decisive victories of the LGBTQ movement. If he does not, she will be a barrier to the progress of society. In any case, it is bad news for human rights.
The Senate still can challenged this appointment
The Senate has the power to decide not to take a decision right away and wait for the next presidential election. Currently, Republicans hold a slim majority of 53 senators. Nevertheless, among these 53 Senators two are moderated. They announced that they are not in favor of a nomination prior to the presidential elections. In the event of a perfect tie, it would be up to the Vice President, Mike Pence, to decide.
Actually, because of this hypothetical appointment the women’s and LGBTQ+’s rights are in danger. However, the Senate can still safeguard their rights, there is hope.
The social dilemma is a new Netflix documentary directed by Jeff Orlowski. The aim of the documentary is to show the dark side of social networks. It is composed by the testimony of tech experts on their own creations and a fiction part. This movie is hard to watch because it puts you face to face with reality of what social networks are all about. Watching this movie in an opportunity to question your relation with social networks. It reminds that by using social networks you are the product. It makes alarming observations especially regarding young people.
An addiction comparable to drugs
They designed algorithms of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok etc. to release dopamine into the brain. The “happiness hormone is the other name of this molecule. The brain released it during experiences associated with pleasure, and especially at the time of drug consumption. The massive release of dopamine may cause behavioural disorders like hyper-sexuality or addiction.
Also, the documentary made another drug connection. It is about the way to name consumers; in both cases, we are talking about “users”.
A definite impact on mental health
This documentary linked the massive use of social networks by young people and the increase in the number of suicides. By using these platforms, young people compare themselves with others. They pay attention to the amount of “likes” they get on their publications, how many “followers” they have, or commentaries they receive. These ways of demonstrating their interest may have a positive impact but it also has a negative one. As we saw it in the documentary, their producer did not planned the negative impact, one of them said that he did not realize it and just wanted to give love.
On social networks, people have this ease to be mean to others. They do not realize the impact of their words. The self-esteem and self-confidence can be impacted in so many ways on social networks and especially on Instagram. This platform is full of photoshopped pictures that show men and women with so-called “perfect bodies”. It suggests all users to comply with beauty standards that they defined, and which do not fit with reality. Nevertheless, more and more people try to fight against it by creating accounts that show people who do not fit with these standards, but it is still a small part.
Tools made to manipulate
A terrifying point that it reveals is how these platforms use our data to manipulate all of us and put in danger democracies by the polarization. This observation is all the more terrifying when one understands that the result is not an accident. The desire to manipulate user behavior is avowed. This means that if these tools fall into the hands of people such as dictators, they will be able to manipulate us without us even realizing it. Moreover, it is thanks to these manipulation techniques that Russia has been able to instrumentalize social networks to weaken Hillary Clinton during the last U.S. presidential elections.
In other words, this documentary, which mixed interviews and fiction thus giving strong credibility. It evokes interesting facts, most of which are not new but important to underline. The funny thing to note is that Netflix uses these algorithms as well to make personal suggestions. However, by making this documentary available on Netflix, it will raise awareness among young people who are the main users of the platform.
Call for Applications at the International Institute for Youth Development PETRI – Sofia for 2 positions of Fellow:
- Youth Fellow interested in online community coordination and content editing for “Speak Act Change” platform;
- Y-PEER International Fellow interested in advocacy initiatives implementation and youth participation on regional level;
The International Institute for Youth Development PETRI – Sofia is a knowledge hub and regional resource center at the National Center of Public Health and Analyses (NCPHA), Bulgaria, that supports youth empowerment in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), gender equality and peace-building in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and beyond. Established in 2007, as a joint initiative of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, NCPHA and the Y-PEER International Network, PETRI Sofia has over 9 years of experience working on peer education standardization, youth leadership, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), youth-adult partnership, research, monitoring and evaluation, training and information sharing in the field of HIV prevention and SRHR of young people.
PETRI – Sofia is an implementing partner of the UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia in capacity building and research and is helping to improve the access of young people to SRHR education and services, with a special focus on addressing the needs of vulnerable/underprivileged young people and young key populations. In this regard, as part of the Annual Work Plan for 2017, PETRI – Sofia will develop an online platform for advocacy, youth participation and sexual and reproductive health and rights, aiming to provide space for networking and partnership for relevant stakeholders with a focus on the ICPD review and SDGs monitoring and implementation. As always, PETRI-Sofia would like to have young people at the heart of all of its work, and would like to give young professionals the opportunity to build and lead the platform.
Call for Application is for the selection of the next PETRI Fellows and the period of fellowship should be from 01.06.2019 to 23.12.2019 Please indicate all convenient periods in your application form.
Applicants are eligible being from this region/countries: Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkmenistan).
On the following link you can check documents, , which includes detailed information about the fellowship as well as the Application Form > https://drive.google.com/…/1YD5mwdNri-FEUKZnA-_ilJC0MlQQU0x…
Accommodation and living allowance, as well as travel expenses and visa costs are included.
All applications, including following documents should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 24th May, 2019:
- Application form;
- CV (Curriculum Vitae);
- Recommendation letter from the Head of the relevant UNFPA CO /youth specialist/liaison officer or other relevant representative is a must;
- Recommendation letter/s prepared by a National Network Focal Point of Y-PEER/ Leader / Coordinator, Head of candidate’s NGO, or other partner or network, closely related to the work of the candidate would be asset/s;
ONLY fully completed applications sent before the deadline will be accepted and reviewed.
PETRI-Sofia Team wishes you Good luck!