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Amy Coney Barrett Judicial Version Of A Stepford Wife

October 15, 2020

There is no way anyone with an understanding regarding the arc of progress this nation has made on a host of issues can honestly support Amy Coney Barrett for a seat on the Supreme Court. Her prudishness oozes when she speaks, and her disdain for the 20th century is most obvious. She is, as the Boston Globe made clear in a column, a cardboard cut-out. She is a factory-made Republican white woman that white Republican men can fawn over. She is their judicial version of a Stepford Wife.

This week the prim-faced nominee made it clear where she stands in regards to social progress in this nation. I was taken aback by her answer to a question from California Senator Dianne Feinstein who inquired if the nominee shared Justice Antonin Scalia’s hostility toward gay rights. The Senator wanted to know it Barrett would “vote to roll back hard-fought freedoms and protections for the LGBT community”?

Barrett responded that she had “no agenda,” which no doubt required her later to confess to a priest as what she said is a blatant lie. Then she uttered this line about gay people.

“I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”

And with that, the 21st century took a blow from one who used a dog-whistle that I had thought we placed on the ash-heap of history. It was clear from her answer she lives with her religion on her arm while her allegiance to conservatives makes her servile to their desires. Her outdated and regressive answer places her among that stale conservative group who think that sexuality is a choice, that gay and bisexual people simply prefer to partner with people of the same sex—a preference that, with enough willpower, can be changed.

This is why the Boston Globe article is so refreshing and accurate. The cheap and awkward theatre the GOP put on this week during the hearings did not produce any insight other than to galvanize the fact conservatives still yearn for the stone age.

Ah, Senate Republicans?

To nick a line from “The Graduate,” I just want to say one word to you.

Football.

The Senate Judiciary Committee should take its cue from the National Football League. Unable to put live fans into the stands, some football teams have filled the empty seats with cardboard images of seat-holders.

A cardboard cutout of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett would have been a huge time-saving convenience in these hearings — and done equally well, given the real Barrett’s refusal to say anything relevant about her view of seminal Supreme Court precedents or how her legal philosophy would apply to any issue that might conceivably come before the court for consideration in the next half-century.

So constrained was Barret tthat she wouldn’t say whether she thought the case granting married couples the legal right to use birth control had been rightly decided. Or whether voter intimidation was illegal. Or even whether a president should commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

Her cardboard cutout could have simply worn a mask and held in its fixed hands a sign that proclaimed: “I can’t express a view on that — but my husband and I have seven lovely children.”

But let’s not stop there. Given the nugatory contributions of Republican Senators John Kennedy of Louisiana and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, precious time would have beensaved, and their states more ably served, by replacing them with cardboard cutouts. Why, to adopt the cornpone patois of Kennedy, it would have been better than finding a snapping turtle perched on a stump in soup season.

And a cardboard cutout would have spared viewers the witless partisanship of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, whose endless self-delight calls to mind a wag’s remark about William Gladstone: He didn’t object to the prime minister always having an ace up his sleeve but merely to his conviction that the Almighty had put it there. Except with Cruz, there’s never anything there beyond a puff of partisan smoke.

Barrett’s confirmation is about as done as a deal can get. As long as they aren’t called up to attend another of President Trump’s super-spreader events and otherwise remain healthy, Republicans have the votes to ram her nomination through before the November election. That merely requires ignoring the monumental hypocrisy of confirming Barrett within weeks of an election after having refused even to grant President Obama nominee Merrick Garland a hearing, let alone a vote, in 2016. Fortunately, double standards are a defining feature of today’s GOP.

The flesh-and-blood Barrett insisted time and again that she had no agenda and had made no commitments on any matters to Trump or anyone else. Perhaps not. Yet as Democratic Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota noted, Trump himself has explicitly promised to select Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade and kill the Affordable Care Act. The president obviously selected Barrett because he believes her conservative outlook and originalist mode of constitutional interpretation make her a guided missile for those missions.

Let’s be realistic. Once she’s confirmed, chances are 9 in 10 that Roe v. Wade will go. Barrett, who has made her opposition to abortion clear, did little to disabuse anyone of that.

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