Amy Coney Barrett — Soccer Mom

President Donald Trump has now officially nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

These two women have many things in common…but not everything. Both have guided their personal lives on religious principles. Both juggled family and work with the partnership of a good husband. Both of these women qualified themselves by becoming experts in Constitutional Law through long and dedicated careers with professorship, clerkship for Supreme Court justices, and serving as judges themselves in the Federal court system.

Judge Laurence Silberman, for whom Barrett first clerked after law school, swearing her in at her investiture as a judge on the Seventh Circuit.

The mix and amounts of these experiences of course differ as much as the additional things that each of them brings with them to the bench. They also differ very obviously in their respective interpretations of the Constitution and which human rights deserve more emphasis.

As has been pointed out correctly by others and even by Barrett herself, that her career enjoyed the benefits of the great work that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has done in the equal rights field. Still, more work must be done, as the following Tweet from Meghan McCain points out…

Why the lopsided emphasis on Amy’s family? Those on the Right in the U.S. crow that Judge Barrett’s devotion to God and family demonstrate that she is one of them and represents a breath of fresh air to official support of their value systems. Those on the Left point to those same things as indicators that she will automatically carry a religious bias against the Progressive agenda in places where it matters most right now, like Abortion and LGBTQIA rights. Of course, we all realize that actions speak louder than words and with judges those actions are manifest in rulings. Amy Coney Barrett’s decision record in the 7th Circuit Court contains several examples that confirm speculation from both the Right and the Left as to what the Supreme Court will look like with Barrett on the bench.

If confirmed, she will be the first justice to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court while still raising K-12 aged children…a thing that would have been unheard of in the Pre-Ginsburg legal industry. This also identifies her as matching almost perfectly to the sometimes negative “Soccer Mom” stereotype (complete with mini-van, as you can see in Megan McCain’s Tweet referenced above), I don’t know whether or not Barrett’s family actually lives in the suburbs in South Bend Indiana, or if any of their children actually play soccer, but I do know that the Religious Conservative former soccer Mom that I’m married to simply loves Amy Coney Barrett.

Now, please don’t say that Julie Housley would have voted for Trump anyway…she would have of course…but elections are won or lost on turnout and most eligible voters still don’t vote. So, Trump obviously chose Amy Coney Barrett to activate the Soccer Mom demographic in general and to trigger the religious conservative moms in particular…since many of those have been put off by him personally (with good reason) to the point of joining other political parties, backing fringe candidates, or maybe not even voting at all. Conservative women have long felt very under-represented by the modern feminist movement because of its “Sex in the City” paradigm of feminism. Susan B. Anthony would have loved Amy Coney Barrett.

So far, the only real controversy that can stick to Judge Amy is the possibility, based on some of the things that she has said in the past, that she has an uber-Conservative bent and personal ax to grind against the status quo in favor of Catholic teachings. We will see during confirmation hearings next month if this accusation has legs, but some on the Left have already started trying to paint her as a dangerous religious fanatic. Democrats will have to be very careful how they run with that however, and avoid trigging sympathy fandom for Barrett and her lifestyle, not to mention embarrassing satire against them. Maybe they’ll find something else that works better…though attempts by several folks to do so on social media have already had to be retracted.

If there is something else they can use, they will certainly find it. I think it will take the form of something in Barrett’s past that might offend Conservatives in an attempt to cool down her support a little from that side of the isle. However, again, if they try something like that then it had better stick and stick hard or else it will more than likely just bounce off of her and stick to them. She is a much more dangerous scandal target than Donald Trump or Brett Kavanagh. I should add that even Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed disapproval at the negative tone that the Constitutional duties of “advise and consent” had evolved into in recent decades…a point that Republicans are sure to point out this time around if things get too nasty.

Outside of that, there is still the very legal yet legitimately controversial point of the Senate moving to confirm her literally right on top of a Presidential election. Contrary to some of the things that prominent Republican officials and talking heads have said, a late October/early November confirmation vote on a Supreme Court justice would be absolutely un-precedented. To throw those sparks into the powder keg of these highly uncivilized transfers of Supreme Court power will make for an overly interesting October.

Republicans have taken an enormous risk attempting this, since Justice Scalia died very early in 2016, an election year, and the same Republican Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell, refused to do his job and schedule hearings and votes on Democrat President Obama’s replacement Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland. McConnell justified this at the time by saying that the public deserves the right to choose the politics of the Supreme Court candidate through their Presidential choice…which is totally absurd. The public had already picked which President they wanted to be in power for the year 2016. Obama won reelection against Mitt Romney in 2012 and deserved better treatment by the Republican-led Senate. Garland was a very reasonable, highly qualified and politically near-neutral pick and deserved a floor debate and vote and there was plenty of time in 2016 to do that.

I think that Donald Trump should thank McConnell, because delaying Scalia’s replacement may have helped get Trump elected. Some aspects of his lifestyle prior to running for President offended Religious Conservatives and he needed their vote to beat a powerful Democrat like Hillary Clinton. Delaying Scalia’s replacement dangled that bait above the noses of Conservatives, many of whom may have voted for Trump in order to get the replacement that they wanted…someone along the same Conservative lines as Scalia.

The problem now is that the reason that Mitch publicly gave for not holding a vote on the Garland appointment applies four-fold to Barrett. The naked hypocrisy of delaying a Liberal nomination all year long for a Democrat President, and then rushing a Republican President’s pick simply cannot be denied and could cost Senate Republicans votes in November. However, none of the leadership on the Republican side seems to care about the downside risks. They reason that a very young, far-right appointment like Barrett would swing the Supreme Court so far to the right for so long and at such an important time for the identity of our nation, that having her on the court is more valuable than Republican power in the Whitehouse and Senate combined. So, they seem comfortable with whatever negative consequences might stem from this in November.

Still, this hypocrisy presents a very tempting target for Democrats that they should pursue doggedly instead of the far riskier prospect of criticizing Barrett personally. If they can peal away enough nervous Republicans from their slim majority, then they might even defeat Barrett or at least push the vote into next year where they can hope to control the Presidency and the Senate and then they can pick another Ginsburg. The public supports them on that question with 62% of Americans polled wanting to wait until next year, not so much because voting on this issue in 2020 doesn’t seem fair to Democrats, but more because 2020 already carries enough trauma for our nation as it is, without throwing a Supreme Court confirmation into the mix.

President Donald Trump speaks at the 2020 march for Life
Lisa Bourne/Heartbeat Interntional

In a related note, Trump threw nervous Republicans a bone today by signing a largely symbolic executive order supporting the Born-Alive initiative. It directs relevant agencies to withhold Federal funds from facilities found in violation of the 2002 law which Planned Parenthood has recently been accused of violating. If Biden wins the election, he can easily reverse this action, though he would have to do it very quietly since most Americans support the Born Alive Protection Act.

Whatever happens, voters will head to the polls this year thinking less about Donald Trump personally…a win for him.


~ by Bill Housley on September 27, 2020.

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