What Else Don’t We Know About Amy Coney Barrett?
We deserve a Justice that recognizes all of our rights to bodily autonomy and equal protection under the law, and we deserve confirmation proceedings that match the weight of a lifetime appointment.
Getting a mortgage approved. Scheduling a dentist appointment. Renewing your driver’s license. What do all of these things have in common? They all take longer than it takes to be confirmed for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court.
It’s been just over a month since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died; her dying wish was that her successor not be named until after the November election. Within hours of her death, Senate Republicans announced that they would confirm her replacement before the election – a move that willfully ignores the majority opinion of the American people and promises to dismantle the groundbreaking work Justice Ginsburg accomplished for gender equity in the law.
Last night, the Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, who now has the power and potential to dismantle Justice Ginsburg’s legacy through her judicial record and guiding philosophy. She is a staunch Constitutional originalist, the same philosophy that led Justice Scalia to say Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided because the Constitution does not explicitly mention abortion. She signed a two-page ad calling for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. As a circuit judge, she has twice joined dissents favoring increased abortion restrictions. During her confirmation hearing, she called being LGBTQ a “sexual preference.” She has given speeches to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a hate group seeking to roll back abortion rights and push LGBTQ people out of public life under the guise of Constitutional freedom. She has been a trustee at private schools with openly anti-LGBTQ policies. She has ruled that a co-worker calling another coworker the n-word does not constitute a hostile work environment.
That’s just what we found out during the hearings. Normally, the confirmation process takes months with an extensive process of vetting, where Senate staff painstakingly comb through the nominee’s records and public statements and the public has the chance to do the same. Not this time. This time, we went from nomination to hearings in just two weeks – nowhere near enough time to do a vetting thorough enough to match the gravity of a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court. Add in the fact that Senate leadership pressed on with the hearings, even after multiple Judiciary Committee members tested positive for COVID-19 at Coney Barrett’s superspreader nomination event, and it becomes clear that her confirmation is a shameless power grab meant to roll back our hard-won Constitutional protections.
Just last week, we learned that Amy Coney Barrett, in a case concerning an on-duty county jail guard raping a 19 year old inmate, found the county could not be held responsbile because the guard was not acting in his official county capacity when asssaulting the inmate. After the hearings were over, we also learned that Coney Barrett failed to disclose at least seven additional paid speeches to the Senate. As citizens who will feel the immediate impacts of Coney Barrett’s decisions on the Supreme Court, we are entitled to her complete record concerning issues of gender equity and bodily autonomy, as well as full transparency about where she was paid to speak. This process represents an alarming disregard for our rights as participants in this government.
We know we deserve better. What we’ve gotten instead is a rushed, unjust process that is transparent only in that it is a blatant power grab. We deserve a Justice that recognizes all of our rights to bodily autonomy and equal protection under the law, and we deserve confirmation proceedings that match the weight of a lifetime appointment.
While her confirmation might be decided, the future of gender equity is not. If there’s anything this sham process has taught us, it’s that the fight for abortion access, LGBTQ rights, and affordable health care is up to us – the organizers, advocates, and champions at the local level. We’re continuing to do everything we can to make sure the fight for gender equity continues here in Minnesota – starting with state level protections and legal fights. We’re not giving up, and neither should you.
Megan Peterson, Executive Director