It was difficult to take seriously even for daytime TV–all that doggerel of dodged questions, of toadying and grandstanding senators that were the Amy Barrett hearings. Barrett’s dogmatism should not be, though conveniently for her choreographers, the election-year politics of her appointment have obscured her subservience to regression.
The two issues are unrelated. Whether this was year one or the last month of his presidency, the acting president had every right to nominate her. The Senate has every right to confirm her, as it will. Of course it’s a stolen seat, as was Neil Gorsuch’s, as was John Marshall’s in 1801, when John Adams appointed him Chief Justice with just days left in his term. But it’s not Republicans’ fault that they have the majority. Democrats would have stolen seats of their own if they’d had the chance. They wouldn’t be talking court-packing otherwise. Thankfully no court-packing scheme will happen on Joe Biden’s watch. He knows his FDR.
Barrett answered no questions. She didn’t have to. Her record is clear enough. It leaves us with a replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as cynical as George Bush’s replacement of Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas in 1991–a mullah replacing a justice in both cases, or fundamentalism hiding under the hijab of originalism. Except that when Thomas was appointed the court was still fairly balanced and not yet a vassal to the religious right. With Barett’s appointment, Thomas is no longer the sadist from the fringe. He’s the originalists’ second coming, with Barrett as handmaid.
Sexist as this may sound, it’s central to Barrett’s biography, or at least those parts of her biography that, submissive to political correctness when convenient, her coddlers on the Senate Judiciary Committee never dared ask her about. Her People of Praise church in Indiana had anyway scrubbed almost all evidence of her role there. It was not a flattering association–not if the last 60 years’ advances in women’s rights, civil rights, marriage and gender equality mean anything.
People of Praise’s version of Catholicism is debatable: the church is given to speaking in tongues, celebrating misogyny, banning gays and lesbians, relegating contraception and abortion to red-light districts, if that, deriding all things secular as inferior to a a life in Christ, requiring insular allegiance from its members and exercising authoritarian methods to ensure it. Barrett herself was a so-called “Handmaid” of Christ in the church’s leadership–a term not taken from Margaret Atwood’s novel about the transformation of America into a Wahhabi-style theocracy, where women are reduced to vessels for procreation, but from the membership directory of Barrett’s church in Indiana. (It’s not clear what inspired Atwood to use the word handmaid.) Having been raised Catholic and suffered the overzealous rigors of its enforcers, especially in school, some of that culture is grimly familiar to me. Most of it is not, at least not as Catholicism.
People of Praise’s theology is closer to Islam in most regards. Not that it’s any more or less of a disqualifier, on its face. But imagine if Barrett were a devout, hijab-wearing Muslim. She’d be smeared the way Keith Ellison was when he became the first Muslim to serve in Congress, the way Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib still routinely are by Trump and his brown shirts even though these individuals “are in fact archetypes of moderation and secularism compared with Judge Barrett,” as the Muslim playwright Wajahat Ali wrote. So let’s not suddenly discover the evils of religious discrimination just because Barrett is the Trump credo’s triptych of untouchable iconography–white, Christian, Republican.
Had she been a member of a club that banned blacks or Jews (or Catholics, for that matter, as they once so often were), even a nostalgic for “the good old days of segregation” like Lindsay Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, would have found it impossible to confirm her. Yet she was an actual member of the board of a school that expressly bans children of unmarried or gay parents, which is no different than if it banned black or non-Christian children. Didn’t matter. She’s a Christian, and Christian bigotry gets a pass. Analyze, criticize, object, and you’re branded an anti-Catholic. What convenient immunization, not from bigotry, but for bigotry.
We don’t have to imagine what Barrett’s jurisprudence will look like regarding gay rights, abortion, women’s rights, sex discrimination, even human rights and the separation of church and state. Reactionaries can party like it’s Deuteronomy again. Her theology would have been unrecognizable, at least in judicial robes, to conservatives like Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford, and to Republican-appointed justices like Lewis Powell (whose famous memo her sycophancy for business she could nevertheless recite in her sleep), Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens or Sandra Day O’Connor. None of them was dim to the respect for all creeds that church-state separation represents, or to the centuries of bloodshed that made it necessary. “Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question,” O’Connor had written in her concurrence of a decision finding the posting of the Ten Commandments in a Kentucky courtroom unconstitutional. “Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”
Barrett might have been more recognizable to Ronald Reagan, the genesis of the GOP’s turn toward Bible-thumping fantasies, though for Reagan it was more Machiavellian expedience than conviction. She would be a lot more recognizable to the second Bush, whose own appointees have been chiseling at the wall with little hammers. But as with all things Trump, his appointees favor wrecking balls.
Barrett now seals the votes to return not only commandments to courtrooms but Bibles to classrooms, school-sponsored prayer, unbridled taxpayer support for madrassas, thus deepening the plunder of public schools, a long-term goal. “I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have public schools,” Jerry Falwell had sermonized in 1979, back when he was inseminating the religious right. “The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be.” The ground around his oval Hades in Lynchburg must’ve raptured when news of Barrett’s nomination sank in. “When a group of nine idiots can pass a ruling down that it is illegal to read the Bible in our public schools,” Falwell had also said, “they need to be called idiots.”
Falwell’s math is Trump’s calculus. The “idiots” are down to a minority on the Supreme Court. That’s the numerology behind Barrett’s appointment. And “The Handmaid’s Tale” is no longer fiction. It’s about to be serialized in judicial opinions.
Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here. A version of this piece airs on WNZF Friday.
Now, why is it that Progressive people can exploit the term “Hijab” to their political advantage as they please but, when others even whisper the word “Hijab” with anything less than the proper deference, all heck breaks loose?
Didn’t have to read the above article as I already knew what it would include. Just a bunch of racist mumble jumble!
So how would you work within our government structure to confirm those nominated to serve as SCOTUS?
There is to be no litmus test — nominees cannot make promises to rule a specific way. The hearings, and I did watch them, were a circus of gotcha questions and Barrett didn’t fall for them and a forum of anti-Trump diatribes, as are most hearings. At least I didn’t cry as I did during the attacks on Kavanaugh and the pounding on the wooden door of the Court.
You go on and on with your projecting how Barrett will rule without any proof with past case rulings. She would not say how she might rule on cases that might appear in the future at the Supreme Court. Your evidence is bigoted Catholic stereotypes that belie the big words you use as proof of your intelligence. Pierre, I know you are smart. I know you have historical knowledge that most of us are lacking but sometimes I wonder how all this knowledge led you to such a closed-minded view of life here in our country.
You list so many sins of Catholics but forget the views of other religions and beliefs. We are equal and there are supposed to be protections for our liberties.
More and more discriminations, no I’ll use the word hate, is permissible against Catholics and Conservatives and anyone who gets in the way of liberal and now socialist agendas. No matter that Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist who wanted to limit procreation of black children. No matter that black children are aborted, lost, and this is now touted as a right by those anti-Barrett. Makes me very sad. The dogma speaks loudly within them. No notice of the Democrats that stood in the path of equal rights for minorities for decades since slavery was abolished.
When I hear the Supreme Court seat described as RBG’s seat, I get a little pissed, frankly. The Supreme Court was designed as a branch of govt to check the laws made by Congress— not to make policy. The seat belongs to the people who elected the President who nominated them. RBG is admired for her blazing the trail for women justices but also for activism and probably for her frank comments against President Trump. Activism isn’t the job of the court.
Maybe Pierre the answer is in your heart, not your head.
Bill C says
What dishonesty! You know “in your heart” how Barrett will vote. The Evangelical Christians are one of Trump’s biggest supporters, even though Trump separates babies from their parents and throws them in jail. I agree with you that dogma has no place on the court.
@Instead of giving the trumpholes a belly rub
by railing against their latest comic book villainy…
Celebrate the words of the actual heroes – there are many – and here is just one:
Vote. Your life depends upon it.
Didn’t see any comments about any decisions she made as a judge that you disagree with. Is your “trump likes her so I do not” hijab showing?
Mr. Pierre Tristan, I & a majority of decent, caring, intelligent people would much prefer “Bible-thumping” Christian philosophy than INHUMAN murderous abortion (killing of innocent babies!!), creating dissident cultures with separate language of ‘politically correct’ words & phrases as well as many other satanic “verses,’ & stupidity!
Yep and on the other hand you all go and support a POTUS who wont listen to Science on any topic nevermind C19 and people die needlessly . But, thats ok. You are a hypocrite and live in a double standard unreality. The Good books were created as a path to a better life not to be literally taken IMO. God helps those who help Themselves.
Dont forget ACA for 20 MM people
OMG Pierre. How is a seat on the court “stolen”….. and Religious Bigot Much?? I am concerned that you are going to pop a vein doing this for another for years, under a Trumps second term. Please stay on the blood thinners.
more of your crybaby bullshit pierre,she hasnt even been confirmed yet and youre already running your mouth,the second you started in with your muslim bullshit ,you lost all credence,never mind that if she does get approved she will be replacing an 87 year old half dead person who slept through most of the day and Barret will at least know what she is voting about
Kinda like Commerce Secretary WILBUR ROSS LMAO . At least she did something. Never forget the shutdown. “They can go get a LOAN.” Thats the Administrations attitide. Just like our own Bearded Wonder Cameron
Mr. D says
Mission accomplished Pierre. Joe Mullin’s head just exploded!!
Anything Trump you are against. What about doing your job and report the facts. Plenty out there. What about the Bidens? Oh that’s right the media is protecting him. Shameful .
Hunter isnt on the ticket NEXT
No way to stop this. Its been done by both sides of the aisle at the tailend of a Presidential Term. I personally do not care for some of her opinions and ideas on some mainstream topics. Especially revisiting Roe v Wade, LGBTQ, Immigration and others. I like to move forward. If her Religious beliefs interfere with decisions, which may be, It will not win her any popularity contests. We need to move on not rehash what the American People have already decided. Oh well, Vote Accordingly.
Pierre thank you for your report and sorry about those that felt they had to attack you. It is apparant that Amy Barretts religious beliefs being brought into a court of law won’t affect them.
First and most of all she only has three years experience that is not enough to sit on a Supreme Court same as Kavanaugh the beer drinking cry baby.
Donald Trump doesn’t do anything unless he feels he will benefit from it. He pushed this more than careing about helping all the American people out of work and on food lines that should tell you where his priorities are and it sure isn’t the American people.
“There is nothing so illiberal, as a liberal.”
True 60 years ago. And still true today.
Pierre Tristam says
William Buckley in National Review 63 years ago: “The White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”
You mean that Bill Buckley?
Mr. D says
Now I get it. Buckley obviously made that Liberal reference because he is a RACIST!!! 2020’s answer to just about everything.
Pretty lame deflection. How times have changed. 63 years ago (1957) it was the Democrat Party that was clinging to Racism and Segregation. (Remember the Dixiecrats). George Wallace, Strom Thurmond etc. If you want to trade racist quotes from political figures of the 50’s and 60’s I would be more than happy to. Quoting Captain America, “I can do this all day”.
We’re it not for the somewhat over lofty vocabulary, Buckley’s racism would stand him in good stead in Flagler County’s electoral politics.
@Len. . . while you are entitled to your religion and your “personal” opinion. . . “you” are most certainly NOT entitled to speak for “me” and the actual majority of American citizens:
Sept. 29, 2020, 4:33 AM EDT
By Melissa Holzberg and Ben Kamisar
WASHINGTON — A majority of American adults say they don’t support the Supreme Court’s completely overturning Roe v. Wade, according to new data from the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking Poll.
Sixty-six percent of adults say they don’t believe the Supreme Court should completely overturn the decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion nationwide in at least the first three months of a pregnancy. Twenty-nine percent of adults say they do want the court to completely overturn the ruling.
The landmark 1973 decision found that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy protected her choice of whether to have an abortion, although it also allowed states to more heavily regulate access to abortion after the first trimester. Before Roe v. Wade, states were largely unrestricted in regulating access to abortion at any point in a pregnancy.
Christopher T Lemke says
Quit crying in your soup, Pierre. the best is yet to come next week. So, save some tears for that one. C’mon man!