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Amy Coney Barrett: Adding a Handmaid to SCOTUS


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As much as it grieves me, I figured we should have a thread for the handmaid, since 45 officially nominated her today.  I'll start with an article that made me angry, not because of the author, but because the repugs are trying to make it seem like Coney Barrett is at the level of RBG.

"Notorious ACB? No and no. Trump’s nominee is no RBG."

Quote

The American flags were massive and they were flying at full staff. And they were everywhere.

On an overcast Saturday evening in the Rose Garden, President Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court. And more than the woman herself, the flags were the centerpiece of the ceremony. They flew from poles. The lined the colonnade. They served as backdrop.

Barrett was dressed quietly and soberly in an espresso-colored dress. The flags were a high-decibel declaration that Trump’s controversial rush to put forward a nominee after Americans have begun casting their ballots in this election cycle is not a matter of partisanship or politics, bullying or narcissism. It’s patriotism. And there it is in its full telegenic flush.

And yet, when Trump stepped to the lectern to introduce Barrett, before he acknowledged the legacy of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose seat his nominee will fill if she is approved by the Senate, he could not resist making note of his own streak of influence. “I stand before you today to fulfill one of my highest and most important duties under the United States Constitution: the nomination of a Supreme Court justice. This is my third such nomination.”

Barrett is his Ginsburg, he would have the country believe, even if Barrett is a textualist and the polar opposite of the liberal icon in judicial philosophy. And Trump gamely talked her up. Barrett graduated first in her law school class at Notre Dame, the president boasted. A law professor, he said, once gave her a letter of recommendation that simply read: “Amy Coney is the best student I ever had.”

Barrett arrived at the White House with her husband, Jesse, and their seven children. The president extolled her motherhood as if it was another bullet point on her resume, which is so often the case when it comes to professional women. He reeled off specifics: two of her children were adopted from Haiti, another has Down syndrome. “If confirmed, Justice Barrett will make history as the first mother of school-age children ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.” What is one to make of that odd speck of a data point? She won’t be the first mother of school-age children with a terribly demanding or influential job. And she most certainly won’t be the first parent of school-age children on the court.

No, Barrett herself is not groundbreaking. But the circumstances of her nomination are certainly unprecedented.

She is the peg who fits the hole. A conservative. A woman. A conservative woman who may be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade. For certain Republican senators, that’s all that really seems to matter, because more than one suggested earlier that they planned to support the president’s nominee even before that nominee was announced.

In her remarks, Barrett paid tribute to the late Justice Antonin Scalia for whom she clerked. She honored Ginsburg, too. Then she talked about her passion for mothering and driving the carpool and planning birthday parties. And certainly if her rough sketch of her home life is accurate, she is a lovely neighbor and an attentive mom. But she has not been nominated to the school board.

Nonetheless, Republicans have already begun referring to Barrett as ACB or Notorious ACB, in an echo of the Notorious RBG moniker that liberals bestowed on Ginsburg because of her powerful dissents and her history-making work tearing down laws that enforced gender discrimination. Barrett’s nomination process may well go down in history as notorious. And if she is confirmed, she may build a distinguished legacy. But at the moment, she is merely the peg the Republicans needed posthaste.

Barrett is 48. That would make her the youngest justice. In almost any other realm, her relative youthfulness would be an advantage. That’s the way it works with women. They typically don’t age into greatness; they age out of it. But Ginsburg, the woman she would replace, set a new standard. Her gravitas was part of her power. Her age, 87, spoke to her experience and wisdom. She was distinguished — a grand word that all too often is reserved for men in the winter of their lives.

As she accepted the nomination, Barrett said: “At the start of our marriage, I imagined that we would run our household as partners. As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work. To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook.” It was a notable anecdote because Ginsburg’s husband, Marty, was well known for being her most avid supporter, for taking care of the home front, and for being the preferred cook in their family of four.

The ability of Barrett to excel in her legal career, the very need for Jesse to take on the lion’s share of the household duties, is because Ginsburg’s work allowed Barrett to soar. It allowed women to have choices and make them freely. And one worries that Barrett will be part of a conservative majority that will revoke those freedoms.

Trump may get his third nominee confirmed. He may call doing so his constitutional obligation. And he may wrap himself in self-serving patriotism. But beyond the confines of the Rose Garden, the flags continue to fly at half-staff for Ginsburg.

 

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I have already decided. If Mitch pushes this through, and we know he will, I will not vote for another Republican for anything again. I've now lived in two ruby red areas and have voted for a few before, either an uncontested races or in cases where I felt the Republican was doing a good job. I've always taking great care with my vote and tended to vote person over party. Not anymore. Even if the best Republican ever was up for County coroner on a posed, I would write in Bob the Builder before I would vote for that Republican.

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Yes, that describes the repugs to a T: they want to roll back progress, though I'd argue they want to roll back more than 60 years.

image.png.4ccf7b0766339de03d9432477ad87544.png

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Lisa Murkowski is a disgrace, not much better than Susan "I'm so concerned" Collins.

This is a depressing but worthwhile read:

Quote

Barrett’s elevation to this position has been a long time coming. Her nomination has been made with one issue in mind: abortion. The conservative men who have been attacking a woman’s right to choose for a generation have long pined for a woman to do the final work of denying women their right to their own bodies. They’ve said so: Ramesh Ponnuru, longtime editor at National Review and fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has written: “The main reason I favor Barrett, though, is the obvious one: She’s a woman…. If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned—as I certainly hope it will be, as it is an unjust decision with no plausible basis in the Constitution—it would be better if it were not done by only male justices, with every female justice in dissent.”

 

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"Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court nominee, spoke at program founded to inspire a ‘distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law’"

Spoiler

Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, publicly grappled decades ago with the tension Catholic judges can face between their religious values and the law. She has since said that she would never bend the law to meet her Catholic faith.

But her role as a speaker at a training program for Christian law school students drew scrutiny three years ago when Trump nominated her to be a federal appellate judge. It may do so again now — as part of broader questioning about how she would balance faith and law — as she seeks confirmation to the nation’s high court.

Barrett was a paid speaker five times, starting in 2011, at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a summer program established to inspire a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law,” tax filings show. It was founded to show students “how God can use them as judges, law professors and practicing attorneys to help keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel in America.”

The Blackstone program is run by Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group whose founding leader has questioned the “so-called separation of church and state” as it is often understood. In the years Barrett spoke there, the fellowship’s suggested reading list included a book co-written by the same leader that lamented how Christians for too long had been “AWOL from the courthouse.”

When Barrett was before the Senate in 2017, to be confirmed as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, she was asked about those speaking engagements and grilled particularly on ADF’s stance on gay rights. Senators did not address the program’s goal of connecting Christian teachings to the practice of law, which has been little noted in the context of Barrett’s role on the courts.

“I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law,” Barrett said at the time, when asked whether her deeply held faith was at odds with her ability to render impartial judgments.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said in a statement in response to questions for this article: “Judge Barrett has said that as a judge she’s not a policymaker and that it’s not appropriate for her or any judge to follow their personal convictions in deciding a case, which is also one of the many reasons President Trump laid out as to why he selected her as his nominee to the Supreme Court.”

Already, Barrett’s supporters are rejecting the notion, floated by some critics, that her faith might unduly influence her jurisprudence. “Judge Barrett has proven herself a highly capable legal scholar and jurist committed to the Constitution and the rule of law, and all Americans — including but especially Catholics — should recoil at the suggestion that her faith and personal life would prescribe otherwise,” Michael P. Moreland, a professor of law and religion at Villanova University, wrote in the National Review on Friday.

Barrett, a favorite of social conservatives, has argued that justices should not be bound by a court precedent that they believe is out of step with the Constitution. That position has led many to argue she may vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has said that he will only support a nominee who explicitly acknowledges that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Last week, Hawley — who also has served as a Blackstone faculty member — said Barrett “clearly meets that threshold.”

As a federal appellate judge, Barrett has ruled skeptically about a broad interpretation of abortion rights, and has shown a willingness to entertain state restrictions on the procedure. But she has been on the bench for only three years, and in most instances was joining more senior colleagues in opinions they wrote.

In the most notable abortion case, Barrett joined in a dissent that said the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reinforced the right of a woman to choose abortion before viability, had not considered whether the reason for choosing to terminate a pregnancy might matter.

In another case, she joined in a decision to reluctantly uphold a Chicago law that put restrictions on antiabortion protesters near abortion clinics. Although the majority wrote that it was bound by a Supreme Court precedent, it questioned whether that precedent had been undermined by subsequent decisions on the subject.

It is not possible to fully know from past rulings what any nominee would actually do once on the court. Appeals court judges are bound by precedent in a way that justices are not; only the latter can overturn Supreme Court precedent.

In her 2017 confirmation hearing, in response to the suggestion that she might be a “no vote on Roe,” Barrett said: “I’m being considered for a position on a Court of Appeals, and there would be no opportunity to be a no vote on Roe. And as I said to the [Judiciary] committee, I would faithfully apply all Supreme Court precedent.”

Also in that hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Barrett that based on her public statements, Feinstein was uncomfortable with her nomination, because “the dogma lives loudly within you.” The comment provoked a furious backlash, with conservatives accusing Feinstein of seeking to impose a religious test on judicial nominees, and some Democrats now argue that the upcoming confirmation battle should focus on the future of the Affordable Care Act and on the legitimacy of Barrett’s nomination rather than on her faith.

Al Franken, then a Democratic senator from Minnesota, asked Barrett in 2017 why she agreed to speak at the ADF’s training program, for a group that he said “fights against equal treatment of LGBT people.” She participated in the program once in Alexandria, Va., and four times in Phoenix, near ADF’s Scottsdale headquarters.

“I question your judgment,” Franken said.

Barrett told Franken she was not aware of all of ADF’s policy positions and agreed to speak at Blackstone because colleagues and some of her students at Notre Dame Law School had participated in it. She said she’d seen no sign of hatred or bigotry at Blackstone. Franken resigned later in 2017 over allegations of sexual misconduct.

“I don’t feel like affiliation with a group commits me to all of that group’s policy positions,” she said.

Barrett said she learned that Blackstone was run by ADF only after she agreed to speak there but before the engagement itself. “I actually wasn’t aware until I received the honorarium and saw the ADF on the check, or maybe when I saw an email and saw the signature line,” she said.

In several of the years she spoke, the Blackstone website bore the ADF logo and identified ADF as the program’s sponsor, according to archived versions. In 2015, the website was apparently redesigned; the ADF logo no longer appeared but the site clearly stated that the fellowship “is a program of Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.”

Barrett is a member of People of Praise, a self-described charismatic Christian community that welcomes several denominations and was founded in South Bend, Ind., where she lives with her husband and seven children.

Early in her career, in 1998, Barrett co-wrote a paper arguing that Catholic judges who oppose capital punishment on religious grounds are “morally precluded from enforcing the death penalty” and should recuse themselves rather than sign an execution order.

In 2006, she told graduates of the Notre Dame Law School that “your legal career is but a means to an end, and . . . that end is building the kingdom of God,” a phrase that critics have focused on and that her supporters say has been taken out of context.

In more recent years, but still before she was named to the appellate court, Barrett publicly avowed that marriage and family are “founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.” She also voiced skepticism that Title IX — the law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools accepting federal aid — extends protections to transgender students, saying that Congress did not intend that outcome when the law was passed in 1972.

Barrett considers herself an originalist who interprets laws based on the intention of their authors, adhering to the school of thought closely associated with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom Barrett clerked at the Supreme Court from 1998 to 1999.

ADF was founded as Alliance Defense Fund in 1993 by leaders of several Christian and conservative organizations as a bulwark against the liberal-leaning American Civil Liberties Union.

The group changed its name to Alliance Defending Freedom in 2012 and has grown into a legal and financial powerhouse. It raised nearly $61 million in the 12 months before July 2019, according to its most recent federal tax filing, more than $16 million of it from a single anonymous individual. Nonprofit organizations such as ADF are not required to publicly identify their donors.

ADF has long opposed same-sex marriage. The group says it has won 11 cases before the Supreme Court since 2011, including one involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception. The group says that it fights for religious freedom as well as “the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family.”

The group launched the Blackstone Legal Fellowship program in 2000 as a “summer-long leadership development program in law and servant ministry” for 24 students, according to a tax filing from the time.

Joe Murray, one of the first Blackstone fellows, later recalled in a memoir that teachers told him and his classmates that they were part of a historic event, and predicted that the inaugural class would one day be compared to the Constitutional Convention.

“Just like the Greeks inside the Trojan Horse, the idea seemed to be an attempt to carefully sneak these budding Christian legal warriors into the courts to change the culture through judicial opinion,” Murray, who is gay, wrote in his 2015 book “Odd Man Out.” ADF did not respond to questions about Murray’s account.

A suggested reading list for the fellowship, published on Blackstone’s site from 2010 to 2015, included “The Homosexual Agenda” by senior ADF staffers Alan Sears and Craig Osten. The authors wrote that same-sex relationships led to “despair, disease and early death.”

“For many years, the church and Christians were essentially AWOL from the courthouse while dozens of legal cases were litigated, setting precedents the homosexual activists rely on today,” Sears and Osten wrote, according to a copy of the book uploaded to the Internet Archive. “We can no longer ignore the legal realm.”

Sears and Osten did not respond to emails and calls. ADF told The Washington Post that the book was removed from the reading list shortly after Sears stepped down as the group’s president and chief executive in 2017.

Another book by Sears and Osten, also since removed from the reading list, referenced the “so-called separation of church and state,” arguing that the concept has been widely misunderstood as requiring the censorship of religious speech in public life.

The Blackstone reading list also previously included a book that called homosexuality a “dark pagan” practice. Another that ADF said remains on the list said the fact “that homosexuals once had to remain in the closet was a sign of sanity in the society.”

An introduction to the reading list told fellows, “It is likely that you may not concur with every assertion contained in every reading; neither does ADF.”

In the years that Barrett spoke to Blackstone fellows, the program was overseen by ADF’s senior vice president, Jeffery J. Ventrella. Ventrella sits on the Religious Liberties Practice Group Executive Committee of the Federalist Society, the powerful conservative legal group that has helped shape Trump’s judicial appointments.

Over time, the language ADF uses to describe the Blackstone program has shifted. In 2011, the first year Barrett spoke to fellows, the Blackstone website explained that ADF’s training efforts were meant to further its efforts to create “an America whose laws affirm religious liberty, protect life from conception to natural death, defend the family, and preserve marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

In its 2019 tax filing, ADF said Blackstone was meant to prepare Christian law students “to adhere to the practice of their faith in the legal profession, an arena often hostile to Christianity.”

Tim Chandler, the ADF senior vice president who took over running Blackstone from Ventrella in 2018, told The Post that the program aimed to “prepare future lawyers for careers marked by integrity, excellence, and leadership, while connecting them with other accomplished professionals and people of faith.” More than 2,400 students have passed through the program, Chandler said.

Barrett said on a financial disclosure form submitted to the Senate in 2017 that she had received two $2,100 payments from ADF during the previous two years. At her confirmation hearing, she said the payments were each made for one-hour sessions on constitutional law that she delivered at Blackstone. She spoke to the group once in 2011 and then for four consecutive years starting in 2013.

She also submitted to the Senate a 24-page slide show and four-page handout that appeared to have been used for her Blackstone presentations. The materials focused on originalism. The documents were included among more than 1,300 pages of past writings, transcripts and other materials submitted by Barrett.

Jeremy Tedesco, ADF’s senior counsel and senior vice president of communications, told The Post that Barrett had been targeted by people trying to smear her for her religious views.

“Christians, Muslims, Jews and other people of faith represent billions of people around the world who believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” Tedesco said in a statement. “While others may differ with these beliefs, it is false, inflammatory, and reprehensible to call this belief hateful or bigoted.”

The Blackstone program counts several judges and successful lawyers as alumni, along with dozens of students who went on to prestigious clerkships. Judge Lawrence VanDyke, who was nominated by Trump to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit last year, was a Blackstone fellow in 2003.

Judge Jamie Grosshans, who was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court this month by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), was also a Blackstone fellow, according to an archived version of her former law firm’s website. Judge Allison Jones Rushing, named to the 4th Circuit court by Trump last year at age 37, said in paperwork filed to the Senate that she participated in a “summer program for law students” run by ADF.

Two decades ago, in their earliest accounts of the Blackstone program, its founders set their sights even higher: Fellows, they wrote in tax filings, would go on to positions of influence as scholars, litigators and “perhaps even Supreme Court Justices.”

 

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6 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

"Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court nominee, spoke at program founded to inspire a ‘distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law’"

  Reveal hidden contents

Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, publicly grappled decades ago with the tension Catholic judges can face between their religious values and the law. She has since said that she would never bend the law to meet her Catholic faith.

But her role as a speaker at a training program for Christian law school students drew scrutiny three years ago when Trump nominated her to be a federal appellate judge. It may do so again now — as part of broader questioning about how she would balance faith and law — as she seeks confirmation to the nation’s high court.

Barrett was a paid speaker five times, starting in 2011, at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a summer program established to inspire a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law,” tax filings show. It was founded to show students “how God can use them as judges, law professors and practicing attorneys to help keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel in America.”

The Blackstone program is run by Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group whose founding leader has questioned the “so-called separation of church and state” as it is often understood. In the years Barrett spoke there, the fellowship’s suggested reading list included a book co-written by the same leader that lamented how Christians for too long had been “AWOL from the courthouse.”

When Barrett was before the Senate in 2017, to be confirmed as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, she was asked about those speaking engagements and grilled particularly on ADF’s stance on gay rights. Senators did not address the program’s goal of connecting Christian teachings to the practice of law, which has been little noted in the context of Barrett’s role on the courts.

“I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law,” Barrett said at the time, when asked whether her deeply held faith was at odds with her ability to render impartial judgments.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said in a statement in response to questions for this article: “Judge Barrett has said that as a judge she’s not a policymaker and that it’s not appropriate for her or any judge to follow their personal convictions in deciding a case, which is also one of the many reasons President Trump laid out as to why he selected her as his nominee to the Supreme Court.”

Already, Barrett’s supporters are rejecting the notion, floated by some critics, that her faith might unduly influence her jurisprudence. “Judge Barrett has proven herself a highly capable legal scholar and jurist committed to the Constitution and the rule of law, and all Americans — including but especially Catholics — should recoil at the suggestion that her faith and personal life would prescribe otherwise,” Michael P. Moreland, a professor of law and religion at Villanova University, wrote in the National Review on Friday.

Barrett, a favorite of social conservatives, has argued that justices should not be bound by a court precedent that they believe is out of step with the Constitution. That position has led many to argue she may vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has said that he will only support a nominee who explicitly acknowledges that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Last week, Hawley — who also has served as a Blackstone faculty member — said Barrett “clearly meets that threshold.”

As a federal appellate judge, Barrett has ruled skeptically about a broad interpretation of abortion rights, and has shown a willingness to entertain state restrictions on the procedure. But she has been on the bench for only three years, and in most instances was joining more senior colleagues in opinions they wrote.

In the most notable abortion case, Barrett joined in a dissent that said the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reinforced the right of a woman to choose abortion before viability, had not considered whether the reason for choosing to terminate a pregnancy might matter.

In another case, she joined in a decision to reluctantly uphold a Chicago law that put restrictions on antiabortion protesters near abortion clinics. Although the majority wrote that it was bound by a Supreme Court precedent, it questioned whether that precedent had been undermined by subsequent decisions on the subject.

It is not possible to fully know from past rulings what any nominee would actually do once on the court. Appeals court judges are bound by precedent in a way that justices are not; only the latter can overturn Supreme Court precedent.

In her 2017 confirmation hearing, in response to the suggestion that she might be a “no vote on Roe,” Barrett said: “I’m being considered for a position on a Court of Appeals, and there would be no opportunity to be a no vote on Roe. And as I said to the [Judiciary] committee, I would faithfully apply all Supreme Court precedent.”

Also in that hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Barrett that based on her public statements, Feinstein was uncomfortable with her nomination, because “the dogma lives loudly within you.” The comment provoked a furious backlash, with conservatives accusing Feinstein of seeking to impose a religious test on judicial nominees, and some Democrats now argue that the upcoming confirmation battle should focus on the future of the Affordable Care Act and on the legitimacy of Barrett’s nomination rather than on her faith.

Al Franken, then a Democratic senator from Minnesota, asked Barrett in 2017 why she agreed to speak at the ADF’s training program, for a group that he said “fights against equal treatment of LGBT people.” She participated in the program once in Alexandria, Va., and four times in Phoenix, near ADF’s Scottsdale headquarters.

“I question your judgment,” Franken said.

Barrett told Franken she was not aware of all of ADF’s policy positions and agreed to speak at Blackstone because colleagues and some of her students at Notre Dame Law School had participated in it. She said she’d seen no sign of hatred or bigotry at Blackstone. Franken resigned later in 2017 over allegations of sexual misconduct.

“I don’t feel like affiliation with a group commits me to all of that group’s policy positions,” she said.

Barrett said she learned that Blackstone was run by ADF only after she agreed to speak there but before the engagement itself. “I actually wasn’t aware until I received the honorarium and saw the ADF on the check, or maybe when I saw an email and saw the signature line,” she said.

In several of the years she spoke, the Blackstone website bore the ADF logo and identified ADF as the program’s sponsor, according to archived versions. In 2015, the website was apparently redesigned; the ADF logo no longer appeared but the site clearly stated that the fellowship “is a program of Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.”

Barrett is a member of People of Praise, a self-described charismatic Christian community that welcomes several denominations and was founded in South Bend, Ind., where she lives with her husband and seven children.

Early in her career, in 1998, Barrett co-wrote a paper arguing that Catholic judges who oppose capital punishment on religious grounds are “morally precluded from enforcing the death penalty” and should recuse themselves rather than sign an execution order.

In 2006, she told graduates of the Notre Dame Law School that “your legal career is but a means to an end, and . . . that end is building the kingdom of God,” a phrase that critics have focused on and that her supporters say has been taken out of context.

In more recent years, but still before she was named to the appellate court, Barrett publicly avowed that marriage and family are “founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.” She also voiced skepticism that Title IX — the law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools accepting federal aid — extends protections to transgender students, saying that Congress did not intend that outcome when the law was passed in 1972.

Barrett considers herself an originalist who interprets laws based on the intention of their authors, adhering to the school of thought closely associated with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom Barrett clerked at the Supreme Court from 1998 to 1999.

ADF was founded as Alliance Defense Fund in 1993 by leaders of several Christian and conservative organizations as a bulwark against the liberal-leaning American Civil Liberties Union.

The group changed its name to Alliance Defending Freedom in 2012 and has grown into a legal and financial powerhouse. It raised nearly $61 million in the 12 months before July 2019, according to its most recent federal tax filing, more than $16 million of it from a single anonymous individual. Nonprofit organizations such as ADF are not required to publicly identify their donors.

ADF has long opposed same-sex marriage. The group says it has won 11 cases before the Supreme Court since 2011, including one involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception. The group says that it fights for religious freedom as well as “the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family.”

The group launched the Blackstone Legal Fellowship program in 2000 as a “summer-long leadership development program in law and servant ministry” for 24 students, according to a tax filing from the time.

Joe Murray, one of the first Blackstone fellows, later recalled in a memoir that teachers told him and his classmates that they were part of a historic event, and predicted that the inaugural class would one day be compared to the Constitutional Convention.

“Just like the Greeks inside the Trojan Horse, the idea seemed to be an attempt to carefully sneak these budding Christian legal warriors into the courts to change the culture through judicial opinion,” Murray, who is gay, wrote in his 2015 book “Odd Man Out.” ADF did not respond to questions about Murray’s account.

A suggested reading list for the fellowship, published on Blackstone’s site from 2010 to 2015, included “The Homosexual Agenda” by senior ADF staffers Alan Sears and Craig Osten. The authors wrote that same-sex relationships led to “despair, disease and early death.”

“For many years, the church and Christians were essentially AWOL from the courthouse while dozens of legal cases were litigated, setting precedents the homosexual activists rely on today,” Sears and Osten wrote, according to a copy of the book uploaded to the Internet Archive. “We can no longer ignore the legal realm.”

Sears and Osten did not respond to emails and calls. ADF told The Washington Post that the book was removed from the reading list shortly after Sears stepped down as the group’s president and chief executive in 2017.

Another book by Sears and Osten, also since removed from the reading list, referenced the “so-called separation of church and state,” arguing that the concept has been widely misunderstood as requiring the censorship of religious speech in public life.

The Blackstone reading list also previously included a book that called homosexuality a “dark pagan” practice. Another that ADF said remains on the list said the fact “that homosexuals once had to remain in the closet was a sign of sanity in the society.”

An introduction to the reading list told fellows, “It is likely that you may not concur with every assertion contained in every reading; neither does ADF.”

In the years that Barrett spoke to Blackstone fellows, the program was overseen by ADF’s senior vice president, Jeffery J. Ventrella. Ventrella sits on the Religious Liberties Practice Group Executive Committee of the Federalist Society, the powerful conservative legal group that has helped shape Trump’s judicial appointments.

Over time, the language ADF uses to describe the Blackstone program has shifted. In 2011, the first year Barrett spoke to fellows, the Blackstone website explained that ADF’s training efforts were meant to further its efforts to create “an America whose laws affirm religious liberty, protect life from conception to natural death, defend the family, and preserve marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

In its 2019 tax filing, ADF said Blackstone was meant to prepare Christian law students “to adhere to the practice of their faith in the legal profession, an arena often hostile to Christianity.”

Tim Chandler, the ADF senior vice president who took over running Blackstone from Ventrella in 2018, told The Post that the program aimed to “prepare future lawyers for careers marked by integrity, excellence, and leadership, while connecting them with other accomplished professionals and people of faith.” More than 2,400 students have passed through the program, Chandler said.

Barrett said on a financial disclosure form submitted to the Senate in 2017 that she had received two $2,100 payments from ADF during the previous two years. At her confirmation hearing, she said the payments were each made for one-hour sessions on constitutional law that she delivered at Blackstone. She spoke to the group once in 2011 and then for four consecutive years starting in 2013.

She also submitted to the Senate a 24-page slide show and four-page handout that appeared to have been used for her Blackstone presentations. The materials focused on originalism. The documents were included among more than 1,300 pages of past writings, transcripts and other materials submitted by Barrett.

Jeremy Tedesco, ADF’s senior counsel and senior vice president of communications, told The Post that Barrett had been targeted by people trying to smear her for her religious views.

“Christians, Muslims, Jews and other people of faith represent billions of people around the world who believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” Tedesco said in a statement. “While others may differ with these beliefs, it is false, inflammatory, and reprehensible to call this belief hateful or bigoted.”

The Blackstone program counts several judges and successful lawyers as alumni, along with dozens of students who went on to prestigious clerkships. Judge Lawrence VanDyke, who was nominated by Trump to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit last year, was a Blackstone fellow in 2003.

Judge Jamie Grosshans, who was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court this month by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), was also a Blackstone fellow, according to an archived version of her former law firm’s website. Judge Allison Jones Rushing, named to the 4th Circuit court by Trump last year at age 37, said in paperwork filed to the Senate that she participated in a “summer program for law students” run by ADF.

Two decades ago, in their earliest accounts of the Blackstone program, its founders set their sights even higher: Fellows, they wrote in tax filings, would go on to positions of influence as scholars, litigators and “perhaps even Supreme Court Justices.”

 

In a real, working democracy, as the US purports to be, there is a separation of church and state. The Founders even enshrined that idea in the very first clause of  the Bill of Rights, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” 

Based on that clause, Coney Barret's remarks should immediately disqualify her.

Sadly, the will and wisdom of the Founders will be shoved to the side like garbage by politicians desperate to cling on to power any which way they can. 

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"The new charade around Amy Coney Barrett"

Spoiler

Whatever one thinks of a president’s right to nominate Supreme Court justices in an election year, it’s clear that Americans don’t buy Republicans’ flip-flop since 2016. When President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a Washington Post/ABC poll found that 63 percent of Americans believed the Senate should vote on his confirmation. Now, four years after GOP senators’ obstructionism hijacked one seat, 57 percent — including 61 percent of independents — say the next president should fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat. Undeterred, though, Republicans are ramping up the shenanigans further, pretending they don’t know how nominee Amy Coney Barrett will vote.

The feigned ignorance began with the president, who, when asked Saturday whether he’d be “okay if abortion becomes illegal in certain states as a result” of Barrett’s nomination, replied, “I never discussed that with Amy. This is something that — because it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss.”

On the Sunday talk shows, Republican senators followed Trump’s lead. Asked what Barrett’s nomination would mean for Roe v. Wade, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) played coy: “Only time can tell what will happen to any one precedent,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. After Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told “Fox News Sunday” that Barrett would vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) claimed, “Unless Debbie is clairvoyant, I don’t think she knows how the nominee is going to vote.”

And on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) argued that Barrett should not be candid in her views on abortion, even though Cotton himself tweeted, “It’s time for Roe v. Wade to go” after being named in the president’s shortlist for the court. In typical Cotton fashion, the more he defended himself, the less sense he made, saying, “One way we could have this conversation is if Joe Biden would release his list of potential nominees.”

It’s not as if Barrett’s views are obscure or hard to discern. As The Post’s Ruth Marcus has documented in a series of articles last week, Barrett’s track record is clear and consistently conservative. Judicial opinions, law review articles and other comments demonstrate that her views on abortion, the Affordable Care Act, gun rights and so on are fundamentally at odds with most Americans'. Perhaps most notably, Marcus writes, “no nominee has openly endorsed views as extreme as Barrett’s on the doctrine of stare decisis, the principle that the court should not lightly overrule its precedents. … She would not hesitate to jettison decisions with which she disagrees.”

Beyond the public record, we can just use common sense. After successfully playing shutdown defense against the Obama administration, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the rest of the Republican Party have hardened their hold over the federal judiciary these past four years. They will not gamble on a wishy-washy conservative justice now.

Republicans will defend trying to muddy the waters by claiming that both parties have maintained this fiction and that doing so protects public confidence in the judiciary as neutral arbiters. The first point is factually accurate but omits crucial context: By blocking Garland, the chief of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Republicans made clear that a judge’s views, no matter how sterling his or her qualifications, are all that matter now.

As for the second argument, here we can enlist Barrett’s own words — written against stare decisis, but if anything more apt regarding the charade of neutral justices: “The ‘protecting public confidence’ argument seems to assume that the public would be shaken to learn that a justice’s judicial philosophy can affect the way she decides a case and that justices do not all share the same judicial philosophy. This, however, is not news to the citizenry. … That is why Supreme Court nominations are an issue in presidential elections.”

But one suspects Republicans already know this. The truth is they don’t want to talk about Barrett’s views because they know most Americans don’t want Roe overturned or the ACA struck down or a vastly expanded Second Amendment. They may be fooling themselves, but they’re not fooling anyone else.

 

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Because of course: "Judge Barrett’s writing criticizes the Supreme Court decision upholding Obama-era health law"

Spoiler

In the days leading to his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, President Trump emphasized anew his distaste for the Affordable Care Act. In his third chance to shape the high court, the president is turning to a conservative judge who could tilt its balance toward his goal of abolishing the law.

Barrett has not participated in any cases during three years on the Chicago-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit that dealt with the decade-old law, which has widened insurance coverage and altered many other aspects of the nation’s health-care system. Yet her academic writing and public action offer glimpses into her views: She has criticized the legal logic behind a Supreme Court decision that preserved the law and opposed a provision involving birth control.

Among the most revealing was an essay she wrote at the start of 2017, four months before Trump nominated her to the circuit bench. In the essay published by a journal of Notre Dame Law School, where she was a professor, Barrett argues that judges should respect the text of laws and contends that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who wrote the majority opinion the first time the Supreme Court upheld the health-care law, “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.”

Barrett represents a striking departure from the views of the justice she would succeed if confirmed by the Senate — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was the senior member of the court’s liberal wing before she died of cancer. Ginsburg voted twice to uphold the ACA’s constitutionality and was widely expected to hold that position in an upcoming case.

Barrett is a favorite of social conservatives, with a vivid history of opposition to abortion and an allegiance to a legal theory known as originalism — the idea that courts should stick to the meaning of the Constitution intended by the nation’s founders — an inheritance from the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom she clerked.

But it is the tidbits showing her dim view of the ACA that are animating those on the left. On and off Capitol Hill, they are planning to use the issue as a rallying cry in the weeks before the November elections, even if Senate Democrats lack enough votes to prevent Barrett from being confirmed.

“I think it is the issue of these confirmation hearings,” said Daniel L. Goldberg, legal director of the Alliance for Justice, a liberal group that monitors judicial nominations and has helped block several of Trump’s choices for lower courts.

The new nominee’s views on health care have particular relevance because the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments a week after the Nov. 3 election in a case challenging the ACA’s constitutionality. The case marks the third time the court will consider the validity of the 2010 statute, which was a signature domestic policy achievement of President Barack Obama — and a target for Republicans ever since.

The law reaches into many aspects of Americans’ lives — from calorie listings on some restaurant menus to how much older people pay for medicines — but its best-known elements led to health coverage for more than 20 million people through new insurance marketplaces and an expansion of Medicaid, the public insurance for the poor, in all but a dozen states. The most popular part of the law protects consumers who have preexisting medical conditions from being frozen out of health plans or being charged more for them.

Goldberg noted that in June 2015 — 10 days after Trump announced his candidacy for the 2016 election — the future president tweeted: “If I win the presidency, my judicial appointments will do the right thing unlike [former Republican president George W.] Bush’s appointee John Roberts on ObamaCare.”

“I take Donald Trump at his word,” Goldberg said, “that [any] person he nominates will declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and, in the middle of the pandemic, will take health care away from millions of people.”

Conservatives say they are not as certain. Ramesh Ponnuru, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who studies conservative thought, said Barrett’s legal positions and writings overall fall within mainstream conservative views, though he, too, said her essay is critical of Roberts, the chief justice.

In the essay, Barrett wrote that the court majority in the 2012 case, NFIB v. Sebelius, that upheld the law “expresses a commitment to judicial restraint by creatively interpreting ostensibly clear statutory text,” so that “its approach is at odds with the statutory textualism to which most originalists subscribe.”

And she praised a dissent by Scalia in a 2015 case in which the court majority again ruled the ACA constitutional. Barrett wrote that Scalia had said the law, often called Obamacare, “should be renamed ‘SCOTUScare’ in honor of the court’s willingness to ‘rewrite’ the statute in order to keep it afloat.” In the scathing dissent, Scalia also said the majority decision was “interpretive jiggery-pokery,” a “defense of the indefensible” and “pure applesauce.”

By the court’s custom, Barrett could participate in the latest ACA case if she were confirmed in time for the Nov. 10 oral arguments. The lawsuit, initiated by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and supported by the Trump administration, argues that the law’s requirement that most Americans carry health insurance is no longer constitutional because of a 2017 change in tax law. It also argues that, if that section of the ACA is invalid, so is the rest.

Barrett has not participated as an appeals judge in any cases involving the legal concept — known as severability — that defines whether a law can stand if part of it is struck down, according to a search of her cases. Nor do her writings show any views on the question.

In addition to her essay, Barrett signed a petition in 2012 that protested an Obama administration rule carrying out part of the ACA that requires employers to include access to birth control for free as part of their health benefits. The petition contended the rule violated the religious liberty of employers that object to contraception.

The Obama administration later modified its rule. And the Trump administration rewrote it in 2018 to widen the ability of employers and universities to exclude birth control coverage on religious or moral grounds. The Supreme Court ruled in July that the Trump version is allowable.

Despite the fragments of evidence of Barrett’s ACA views, Ponnuru said it would be wrong to guess how she would vote on the pending ACA case — especially because legal experts across the ideological spectrum regard its arguments as weaker than the pair of earlier cases.

“We just can’t know,” Ponnuru said.

“We couldn’t know how Roberts was going to vote on the abortion case this summer, even with all his years on the Supreme Court,” he said, referring to an instance in which the chief justice joined the court’s liberals to strike down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law. “They have so much freedom of action.”

 

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On the subject of Barrett , and her religious cult , because as you will see that's what it constitutes , " People of Praise " , here are these videos I've found , plus an article .    

Spoiler

 

 

Spoiler

 

  https://www.alternet.org/2020/09/meet-people-of-praise-heres-why-this-far-right-cult-shouldnt-be-allowed-anywhere-near-the-supreme-court/ 

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This is an interesting perspective piece. TW: miscarriage. "Judge Barrett backs laws that could have killed me during my pregnancy"

Spoiler

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, has twice considered cases involving Indiana laws that would have made abortion harder to access — one that tightened requirements for notifying parents of minors who sought abortions, and another that banned abortion because of a fetal disability. In both cases, Barrett joined dissents favoring the laws.

In Louisiana, where Barrett was born and where I live now, these kinds of restrictions could have killed me.

Like Barrett, I’m a mom, and like Barrett, I’ve been pregnant five times, although I have only two living children. A few months ago, I was thrilled to see the heartbeat of what I hoped would be my third living child — what we in the miscarriage and infertility world call a “take-home baby.” But it wasn’t. My obstetrician broke the news that the baby wasn’t growing as expected. Its heartbeat was well below viability. There was no way it could survive. I returned the next week, and again the next. The baby never grew arms or legs. My placenta didn’t develop correctly. A healthy heartbeat would have been about 150 beats per minute; my baby’s was 54. “Hold your breath,” the ultrasound tech said gently. “Try not to move.” I choked back my tears. With each week that passed, the chances of complications rose. The further along you are when you miscarry, the more difficult, painful and invasive the process becomes. I know this well; my second miscarriage, at 10 weeks, had involved surgery, scar tissue and complications with the subsequent birth of my daughter. My third would be worse.

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland after being denied an abortion. Like mine, her baby had no chance of survival. But Irish law forbade Halappanavar from receiving an abortion, and the complications of her miscarriage led to her death from sepsis. Halappanavar — whose story galvanized Ireland’s legalization of abortion — haunted me as I watched my baby slowly die. Louisiana legislation restricting abortion access has led to the closing of all but three abortion clinics in the state. These statutes are called TRAP laws: targeted restrictions on abortion providers.

TRAP laws can regulate abortion providers by things such as width of the building’s corridors or the number of parking spaces it has outside.

In Louisiana, no major obstetrics and gynecology group performs abortion services. Because my baby’s heartbeat still flickered weakly, my obstetrician could do nothing to help hasten my miscarriage. She squeezed my hand as she gave me a yellow Post-it with the information of the closest clinic. On it she wrote, “You’ll get through this.” What I learned when I called the clinic was the demand for abortions in Louisiana far exceeds the number of providers who can help. It would be nearly three weeks before they could see me; there would be no way for me to avoid a surgical procedure at that gestational age. A week later, I crossed three states to end my pregnancy in Florida on the very last day they could provide a medical abortion. I walked through a small crowd of protesters to enter the clinic. One sign read: “Welcome to hell.” Inside the clinic were dozens of women, packed into the waiting room. An employee told me that most of the clinic’s patients come from Louisiana and Mississippi. Barrett has claimed Roe v. Wade is unlikely to be overturned. Yet she has also stated that the Supreme Court may allow states to further limit abortion access within their boundaries. These limitations inevitably lead to abortions that are performed later in pregnancy, that have increased risks and that extend the agony of a miscarriage like mine.

When I had an ultrasound at the clinic in Florida, it showed my baby’s heartbeat had finally stopped. Because I was so far along, the doctor cautioned me that the medication to pass the fetal tissue might not work. It didn’t. More than two weeks later, I began to hemorrhage. My husband stayed home with our young children while I drove myself to the ER, blood pooling on the thick towel I sat on and pouring down my legs as I walked through the hospital’s glass doors. My obstetrician, on call in labor and delivery, came down to provide my emergency care herself.

Just this year, the Supreme Court narrowly struck down Louisiana’s most recent TRAP law. With a court dominated by justices like Barrett, however, there is little chance these laws will be defeated in the future. In a state with one of the highest family poverty rates in the country, many women won’t be able to travel great distances to receive safe abortion care.

Like me, the majority of women seeking abortions — about 75 percent — are already moms. When I wanted to end my nonviable fifth pregnancy, I wanted to do so safely and quickly. I wanted to close a heartbreaking chapter in my life. I wanted to stay alive for my two daughters. Is this truly the decision that Barrett has called “always immoral?”

 

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14 minutes ago, Penny said:

With the news today, will her confirmation be delayed?

It should be. She tested negative today, but she still needs to isolate herself for 14 days, and be tested throughout. Knowing Mitch however...

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Did anyone see the tweet going around "Looks like RBG successfully argued her first case before God"? Hilariously referring to Trump getting covid, but I think it's more about Barrett not making it to the bench :pb_wink:

Edited by front hugs > duggs
God and RBG willing...
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45 minutes ago, fraurosena said:

It should be. She tested negative today, but she still needs to isolate herself for 14 days, and be tested throughout. Knowing Mitch however...

Sen Mike Lee was with Barrett on Tuesday...and revealed earlier today he is COVID positive.  

 

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Barret confirmed she had it this summer. As there have been more and more reports of people catching it more than once, that  doesn’t have to mean a thing.

This is interesting though:

 

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On 10/3/2020 at 12:33 AM, fraurosena said:

Barret confirmed she had it this summer. As there have been more and more reports of people catching it more than once, that  doesn’t have to mean a thing.

This is interesting though:

 

Stupid question: do votes have to be cast in person, or can they be made virtually?

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