politics

Amy Coney Barrett, ‘Instant Celebrity’

Donald Trump lavished praise on Judge Amy Coney Barrett Saturday, when she was announced as the president's selection to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat. She is Trump's third nominee to the high court. Barrett, Trump has been told, will be a "female Antonin Scalia". Starting with the obvious, it's unfortunate that, in 2020, women are judged (no judicial pun intended) based on their purported capacity and willingness to function as stand-ins for dead men. Her ideological affinity and relationship with Scalia notwithstanding, and the necessity of simplifying complex issues both for the current occupant of the Oval Office and for the general public aside, Judge Barrett is not a "female Antonin Scalia". She is just Amy Coney Barrett, an accomplished (if controversial) jurist, and a person in her own right. She should be referred to as such, no matter how much you may disagree with her views. I'm sure the late Justice Ginsburg would agree. With that out of the way, she did clerk for Scalia more than two decades ago, and is seen as a "home run" for conservatives. For Democrats, and especially for Progressives, the notion of Barrett "replacing" Ginsburg is nothin
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19 comments on “Amy Coney Barrett, ‘Instant Celebrity’

  1. Mr. Dog says:

    “In fact, I would argue that Barrett should simply refuse the nomination on the grounds that the current circumstances are insulting to her own dignity.”

    I agree.

    It’s unfortunate that those who seek power and status are often the least fit to lead. This concept is realized in its maximum expression in Trump.

    Amy Coney Barrett should turn down the nomination, based on nothing more than the optics that she is just a political puppet to Trump. Unfortunately, the odds of that Happening are less than me looking out the back window and seeing Alarik walking on water.

  2. George says:

    Agree with your conclusion…. Barrett should never allow the Dog and Pony Show that could very well contradict the best interests as well as the will of the people in a time frame that is as critical as it could possibly be.. Only a broken Political system could act contra to that reality !!!

  3. FuriousA says:

    Even if she turns it down, there’s plenty more of her ilk where she came from.

    • Canuck says:

      Plenty? Trump has already boxed himself into a woman candidate, one with strong conservative (anti equality?) leanings and with strong judicial qualifications. Plus the clock is ticking on installing someone in time to help with any election decision fight.

  4. Folks, the last line in this article was just a “close it with a bang” line, so to speak. She’s not going to turn it down. There’s no chance of that.

  5. Darkstar says:

    Wow, thanks! I’ve finally found a deity I can commit to – Alarik the benevolent squirrel who lives in my backyard – he lives in EVERYONE’S backyard! As soon as one of my cats eats him, he will once again be reborn as a giant lizard who will save America from itself. Spreading the word on social media!

  6. Anaximander says:

    Originalism was once so odious that its first public adherent seeking the high court got Borked for it. Yet it has since spread like a religion in those high ranks, and after this it would appear to have a plurality if not a majority. Never mind that such fundamentalism is epistemologically incoherent as a philosophy, rendering it an utterly nonsensical jurisprudence, and never mind that the framers clearly used and intended to use abstract moral language throughout (you also need a moral philosophy to interpret it). I suppose if one’s moral philosophy is simply ‘Catholicism’, like Scalia and presumably Coney Barrett, well then you might presume a sort of unchanging morality over time (that of your religion, not those “other” religions), which of course also denies humanity any of its other fundamentally social premises. Even so, originalism is both discriminatory and philosophically incoherent. If you swap robes and religions, are they Ayatollas fundamentally all that different?

    • WPG says:

      Did Justice Scalia’s Catholicism unduly influence any of his decisions, votes or opinions on the bench? Where, please.

      • kilo says:

        WPG, this will be my only response to a comment of yours.

        You’re use of the term “unduly” makes your question impossible to answer as it allows you to move the bar wherever you want in order to prove yourself correct.

        If we leave out the term unduly in your question and just say influence, then Lawrence v. Texas comes to mind as a specific example. I won’t offer an opinion as to whether the decision is right or wrong since I don’t care to have that argument, so please don’t confuse my statement with one of bias. Also, I ask everyone not to assume that I’m projecting this concept of Catholicism and its correlation with Lawrence v. Texas onto all Catholics. I’m not. That would be a horrible oversimplification of the Catholic religion and I mean no offense to any of the individual members or to Catholicism as a whole. Religions are open to a wide range of interpretations, and I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable about all of the differing views. I’m only stating that in this particular instance, and in Scalia’s own interpretation of his own religion, it’s likely that his religious beliefs had at least some sway in his decision (though, I’ll admit, we can never know for certain).

        Speaking generally, we all make decisions based on our beliefs, religious or otherwise. To suggest that beliefs don’t come into play when making decisions, even in rulings made by the Supreme Court, is ridiculous. If you’re looking for literal proof, I’m not sure where you would find it. It’s not like Scalia could write such an argument in a dissent because of, you know, that whole separation of church and state problem he’d have.

        Anaximander’s comment is on point, as usual, and very difficult to argue with the general premise. You’re question borders on absurdity in the level of proof it requires in order to convince you of anything you don’t already know to be “true”.

      • Anaximander says:

        The problem with your question is the word “unduly”. Should any influence be acceptable in a country supposedly founded on principles of religious toleration, and the separation of church and state? In any event, the answer is yes. If you’re looking to pinpoint examples, perhaps you could explain to me how it is consistent that he didn’t believe Native Americans who smoke peyote in religious ceremonies are exempt from otherwise universal drug laws, and yet simultaneously believed that a “for-profit corporation” that happened to be owned by Christians with tens of thousands of employees who certainly did not all hold the same religious beliefs as the owner could be exempt on religious grounds from otherwise universal laws about health care coverage? What is this about, at base, other than believing: 1. corporations are people, 2. their first amendment rights can supersede those of actual people against whom they are directed, and 3. the religious claims of one religion are more valid than that of another?

  7. kilo says:

    Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” takes on the task of identifying the common themes and story elements that are evident in some of the greatest stories told throughout history and across a variety of cultures. It captures the tale of the hero’s journey and the types of events that transpire to turn an unremarkable person into a hero. The book is most famously known for its impact on the original Star Wars trilogy as George Lucas admitted that he didn’t think he could have written Star Wars without having first read Campbell’s book.

    Campbell identifies that one of the major themes that plays out through these great myths and legends is that the hero, before they can effect any meaningful change, must first destroy their entire self and rebuild something new, something greater. As these stories all offered teachable lessons for real life, a major takeaway that Campbell points out is that our belief systems are not traits to be reinforced and upheld. Instead, we need to constantly challenge, deconstruct, and reform our own beliefs, especially the beliefs that we hold closest to heart, in order for us to become our own hero. Maybe we could all do a bit better on this task, I know I certainly need to drastically improve on challenging what I believe. Our most powerful judges really need to have at least some ability to self-reflect in order for the court to effectively carry out justice.

    I really can’t recommend Campbell’s book enough simply for how enjoyable it is to read and how much influence it still holds over the writers in Hollywood. If you watch closely, you can identify very specific elements of Campbell’s work in a number of movies. It’s sort of a fun game to play. In a case like Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” based on Jeff Vandermeer’s novel (which I have not read), the film uses nearly every element of Campbell’s work to tell the story. Having read Campbell’s book first almost certainly made the movie much more entertaining for myself than it otherwise would have been.

    For those who may not have the time to invest in his book, you can always watch his interviews with Bill Moyers.

  8. The close with a bang is a bit disrespectful of the process we must all go through in our current hyper state. However overall the article is very insightful and well written. The Close with a bang had me wound up enough that I had almost forgotten about the rest of the article. I suggest a soft peddled bang would be more respectful of the emotional state we are all in. However yes as a journalist you must sell copy and cannot do it in many situations without a bang or two. Please Disregard this criticism if you must.

  9. WPG says:

    Prof. H, the following: “not least of which is the prospect that her religious views “might” creep into her jurisprudence with regard to women’s reproductive rights”
    Why not just state that you believe The Honorable Barrett wants to overturn Roe vs Wade and be done with it?

  10. I have never met Mrs Barrett so I don’t know her personally. I can say that your reservations are justified. First of all I find it disgusting that the Senate President is changing his tune about nominating supreme justices because his party is in power. But I guess you can call that the spoils of power.

    What I will say about her being a Catholic and a Supreme Court nominee, I don’t care what she says during the nomination process, if you are a practicing Catholic and aware of the churches teachings there is no wiggle room, abortion is and always will be wrong. Now people can and do disagree with the teaching which is fine, there was a moral conscience clause that some people used after Vatican 2 but Pope John Paul 2 cleared it up by coming up with a teaching that abortion is wrong. So the Catholic teaching still is that if you are in a position of public power and you do something that goes against any teaching big or small you can risk eternal damnation so it would seem to me that if she does get nominated that she would not have a choice but to overrule Roe v Wade.

    I do find it wrong that she can call herself an originalist.
    Because if you really wanted to take our country back to its roots, you would have to rule against any amendment in the constitution that wasn’t part of the original constitution in the 1700’s , which I believe was your reference to a modern state.

  11. And she just may surprise her detractors by having a mind of her own, be smart enough to see through trump and his shenanigans and be a proud jurist to carry on RBG’s work. God (and Alarik) sometimes work in mysterious ways. It may be a stretch of faith at this point but i am not going to prejudge the judge and hope I’m not wrong.

  12. Anonymous says:

    My wife, who has never been interested in politics, asked today during the breakfast: “Did you hear about this Supreme Court nomination? That’s ridiculous”.
    I hope this case will force some swing voters and non-voters to rethink what they should do on November 3rd.

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