POLITICS

150 Civil Rights Groups Oppose Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett

Trump's court pick is "an insult" to the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, say the NAACP, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Human Rights Campaign.
Amy Coney Barrett is drawing supreme opposition from national civil and human rights groups.
Amy Coney Barrett is drawing supreme opposition from national civil and human rights groups.

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “is incapable of rendering equal justice under law” and her nomination to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s former seat is “an insult” to Ginsburg’s legacy of being a champion of justice, reads a Tuesday letter signed by 150 civil and human rights groups urging senators to oppose her confirmation.

The letter, led by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Hum­­­­an Rights, is 16 pages long and goes into the specifics of Barrett’s record of being hostile to health care access, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, victims of employment discrimination, victims of sexual assault and gun safety.

The groups point to Barrett suggesting in 2017 that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, and her signature on a 2006 advertisement in an Indiana newspaper calling for the end of the legal right to abortion. In 2016, Barrett also appeared to criticize Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court decision that resulted in marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The Obergefell dissent “said that those who want same-sex marriage, you have every right to lobby in state legislatures to make that happen, but the dissent’s view was that it wasn’t for the court to decide,” Barrett said in her 2016 remarks. “So I think Obergefell, and what we’re talking about for the future of the court, it’s really a who decides question.”

Barrett, who is currently a U.S. appeals court judge, has also made some “troubling” rulings as a judge, the groups say.

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. AutoZone, Barrett ruled against an African-American worker whose employer involuntarily transferred him to another store as part of a practice of assigning African-American employees to stores in African-American neighborhoods. In Doe v. Purdue University, Barrett wrote an opinion that allowed a male student who was credibly accused of committing sexual assault and suspended from the university to advance a Title IX lawsuit against the university, alleging he was discriminated against because he was a man.

“The undersigned organizations urge the Senate to oppose the confirmation of Judge Barrett and allow the president duly chosen in the 2020 general election to fill the existing Supreme Court vacancy,” concludes the letter, signed by groups including the American Federation of Teachers, Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Here’s a copy of their letter:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) plan to move forward with holding Barrett’s confirmation hearing on Oct. 12, despite at least three Republican senators testing positive for COVID-19 in the last week.

Two of those senators, Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, are members of the Judiciary Committee and will not have cleared the recommended 14-day quarantine before participating in the hearing. Lee may also have infected other committee members with COVID-19 after attending a 90-minute committee hearing last Thursday, during which he talked and shouted without a mask on.

McConnell tweeted Monday that the Senate is perfectly capable of holding a “hybrid” confirmation hearing for Barrett, meaning, for the first time in history, the Senate would move forward with confirming a Supreme Court nominee with some senators participating in a Zoom call.

Republicans are eager to confirm Barrett because Trump may lose reelection in November and they want to hurry up and fill the Supreme Court seat with his pick, rather than let a potential President Joe Biden fill the lifetime seat.

When the tables were turned in 2016, Republicans said they wanted to wait until after the election — then almost nine months away — for the new president to nominate a replacement after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Before President Barack Obama even nominated his pick, Merrick Garland, McConnell and Republicans vowed to block any nominee all year. Garland never got a hearing, let alone a confirmation vote.