Liberals Erupt Over Amy Barrett

From LGBT rights to gender equality, liberals see their worldview threatened
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2020 11:00 AM CDT
Barrett Pick Would Be a 'Bombshell'
In this May 19, 2018, file photo, Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge, speaks during the University of Notre Dame's Law School commencement ceremony at the university, in South Bend, Ind.   (Rachel Malehorn,, via AP)

Not everyone is cheering President Trump's apparent Supreme Court pick. While media reactions to Amy Coney Barrett vary across the political spectrum, liberals see the threat of their greatest political achievements—like Roe v. Wade and ObamaCare—going down in flames on a right-leaning court. So let's start there:

  • 'Tragedy': "For individual rights, voting rights, LGBTQ equality, church/state separation, the rights of immigrants, everything Democrats have tried to advance this is no farce," writes Jay Michaelson at the Daily Beast. "It's a tragedy."
  • 'Bombshell': Barrett has "openly endorsed" the notion of overturning precedents she disagrees with, writes Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post. "It's not just a matter of abortion and the future of Roe v. Wade," she adds, saying the "Barrett chopping block" could include same-sex marriage, affirmative action programs, gender discrimination protections, and environmental safeguards. "This is a bombshell." (But Ed Whelan argues at the National Review that Marcus has Barrett's legal philosophy all wrong.)

  • Roe v. Wade: Indeed, Barrett's respect for original statutes suggests she might not throw Roe v. Wade right out the window—"but then she would probably gut it, hollowing it out with restrictions and rules that limit public funding and let states dismantle access," writes Tara Sonenshine at the Boston Globe. "Barret is pro-life. No doubt about it."
  • 'Bigotry': Conservatives are accusing liberals of directing "anti-Catholic bigotry" at Barrett. Whether it's Robert Franklin at the Gazette or SE Cupp at the News-Herald, they say Barrett is being "shamed" for her association with the charismatic Catholic sect People of Praise. "That in 2020 Catholics are still fair game for this kind of bigotry is shameful," writes Cupp. "We have to be better than this—but then, these days that often seems like too much to ask."
  • Off limits? Yet a Catholic scholar says Barrett's Catholicism is a legitimate point of questioning during her nomination process. It "may seem unseemly," Massimo Faggioli writes at Politico, but "Barrett’s nomination would raise an important new problem: Is there a tension between forthrightly serving as one of the final interpreters of the Constitution and swearing an oath to an organization that lacks transparency and visible structures of authority that are accountable ... to the wider public?"
  • Quality nominee: Robert P. George argues at Newsweek that Barrett fits the overall bill for conservatives. She's a "noted legal scholar," Notre Dame Law School graduate, and woman in her 40s who might sit on the high court for decades. "On character, temperament and intellect she is the top of the top—of any group," he writes.
  • 'Tokenism': Bridget Kelly fires back at Newsweek that "it's a particular insult to women ... for Trump to propose such a candidate" in the name of "women's equality" when in fact "he'll advance his own agenda of turning women's rights back 50 years." The headline calls it "beyond tokenism. It's an affront."
  • 'Hypocrisy': The LA Times editorial board says Barrett "is qualified" for the high court but shouldn't be confirmed: A Barrett confirmation "would reward the hypocrisy of Senate Republicans" who wouldn't consider Merrick Garland during the 2016 election year, "supposedly because it would deprive voters of a say in the choice of a new justice."
(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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