Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Amy Coney Barrett: A Frightening Possible SCOTUS Nominee

Barrett belongs to a right wing group that believes wives should be subservient to their husbands.

Throughout his term on the U.S. Supreme Court the late Antonin Scalia routinely allowed his right wing Catholicism to influence his opinions on the Court, utterly ignoring the warnings of Thomas Jefferson who condemned rulers and judges who imposed their beliefs on all.  Jefferson called such actions "sinful and tyrannical."  Meanwhile, even as he imposed his own beliefs, Scalia pretended to be an "originalist" who sought to channel the intent of the Founding Fathers.  Now, as a column in the  New York Times notes, Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenf├╝hrer, may be contemplating nominating an individual who would be Scalia on steroids when it comes to believing her extreme right Catholic beliefs should be binding on all Americans. Equally disturbing is her lack of top credentials and very limited time on the bench - of any court.  Here are column excerpts:
There’s little that President Trump loves more than cementing his supporters’ adoration of him while making his foes squirm. Nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court would do both. She’s not just a staunch conservative over whom Republicans and Democrats would wage a familiar fight. She’s the prompt for an all-out culture war. 
She was one of four finalists interviewed by Trump on Monday, when CBS News, without specifying its source or sources, identified her as one of two leading contenders. The other was Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Many conservatives are lobbying ardently on her behalf. . . . Barrett, you see, talks readily and proudly about her Catholicism, making no bones about its presence at the center of her life. She and her husband have seven children, two of whom are adopted. She belongs to a mostly Catholic group, People of Praise, whose members make an especially intense commitment to their faith.
And Republicans . . . They’re setting her up to be a Christian martyr, minus the grisly end, and daring Democrats to take the bait.
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake sagely sized up the appeal of this dynamic to Trump, writing that it’s “exactly the kind of battle he generally relishes: One that invites his opponents to overreach.” My Times colleague Ross Douthat tweeted that if Trump wants to “trigger the libs,” he’ll nominate Barrett. Douthat further predicted that her nomination “might bring on the culture-war apocalypse.”
In terms of experience, she’d be an atypical nominee. She’d be the only justice on the Supreme Court without the imprimatur of the Ivy League, and there’s little whiff of the coastal elites about her. She did her undergraduate work at Rhodes College in Tennessee and then attended law school at Notre Dame, where she subsequently taught for more than a decade, up until her appointment to the circuit court last year. While she clerked long ago for Justice Antonin Scalia, her own time on the bench is limited to her eight months on that court.
And her Senate confirmation hearings after her nomination for the circuit court made her a hero to conservatives, especially religious ones. They took issue in particular with questions that Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, asked Barrett about whether she could properly separate her fidelity to Catholic tenets from her duty to interpret the law for all Americans.
Barrett should be measured by the legal perspectives that she has articulated in public remarks and scholarly journals. Those have persuaded her backers that she can be depended on to sweep aside Roe v. Wade and to toe the conservative line on other issues. Democrats should be equally convinced, and should confront her, fiercely, on those grounds.
A piece in the Times last year looked at the bizarre quasi-Catholic that Barrett belongs to.  Suffice it to say, it about as far as one can get from mainstream as possible:
Some of the group’s practices would surprise many faithful Catholics. Members of the group swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another, and are assigned and are accountable to a personal adviser, called a “head” for men and a “handmaid” for women. The group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family.
Current and former members say that the heads and handmaids give direction on important decisions, including whom to date or marry, where to live, whether to take a job or buy a home, and how to raise children.
Legal scholars said that such loyalty oaths could raise legitimate questions about a judicial nominee’s independence and impartiality. The scholars said in interviews that while there certainly was no religious test for office, it would have been relevant for the senators to examine what it means for a judicial nominee to make an oath to a group that could wield significant authority over its members’ lives. 
The group believes in prophecy, speaking in tongues and divine healings, staples of Pentecostal churches that some Catholics have also adopted in a movement called charismatic renewal. . . . about 90 percent of its members are Catholic.
To fulfill the group’s communitarian vision, unmarried members are sometimes placed to live in homes with married couples and their children, and members often look to buy or rent homes near other members.
There are some indications that both Ms. Barrett and the People of Praise may have tried to obscure Ms. Barrett’s membership in the group.
Every nominee for the federal bench is required to fill out a detailed questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ms. Barrett did not list any religious affiliations on her questionnaire, though many nominees have in the past.
Sadly, Republicans rubber stamped Barrett's nomination to the 7th Circuit. If she is elevated to the Supreme Court, expect rulings that uphold a Christian version of Sharia law in America.  She is very frightening. 

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