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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 10/17/20

Barrett Is Poised to Become the Most Radical Right-Wing Member of Supreme Court

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From Truthout

Prof Amy Coney Barrett.
Prof Amy Coney Barrett.
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During her Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Amy Coney Barrett refused to say that voter intimidation is illegal, that armed poll watchers are intimidating, that voter discrimination exists, whether the president could deny someone the right to vote based on race or that Congress has a constitutional duty to protect the right to vote.

She refused to affirm that Medicare is constitutional; that married couples should not lose their right to contraceptives; that a Black worker repeatedly called the N-word was subjected to a hostile work environment; that it's wrong to separate children from their parents at the border; or that marriage equality, the right to consensual gay sex and LGBTQ workers' rights should be protected. Barrett would not say that human beings are responsible for climate change or that the Constitution requires a peaceful transfer of power.

Barrett's answers and refusals to answer confirm that she will be the most radical right-wing member of the Court.

Even Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), noted, "Voting discrimination still exists. No one doubts that." Apparently, Barrett does. Roberts also said at his confirmation hearing, "I agree with the Griswold court's conclusion that marital privacy extends to contraception and availability of that."

When Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) asked Barrett whether a president could refuse to comply with a court order, she refused to answer. Even Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch "made it clear [during their confirmation hearings] that a president cannot refuse to comply with a court order and the Supreme Court's word is the final word on that matter," Leahy told Barrett.

Even Kavanaugh wrote in a court of appeals opinion that, "being called the N-word by a supervisor suffices by itself to establish a racially hostile work environment," Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) told Barrett.

Barrett's Confirmation Threatens Voting Rights

Barrett was asked whether she agreed with her mentor Antonin Scalia's characterization of the Voting Rights Act as "a perpetuation of racial entitlement." Barrett refused to answer. "This should sound an alarm for anyone in our country who cares about protecting voting rights for all Americans," Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, testified at Barrett's hearing.

An Arizona case on the Court's docket will test another anti-discrimination provision of the VRA, Section 2, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race. "Given Judge Barrett's unwillingness to recognize the threats that Black people and communities of color face in voting, I'm deeply concerned about how she would handle this case and many other such cases that will come before the Court," Clarke told the committee.

Barrett's Confirmation Threatens the Affordable Care Act

Barrett admitted to Leahy that she didn't know how many people are covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), how many people under age 26 have health insurance under their parents' plans thanks to the ACA, or how many Americans have tested positive for coronavirus.

If she was being straight with Leahy, Barrett is a judge wildly out of touch with the people of this country.

Barrett also refused to tell Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) that she was aware Donald Trump had opposed the ACA before he nominated her. When Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) asked Barrett whether she had heard Trump's statement committing to nominate judges who would strike down the ACA, the judge replied, "I don't recall hearing about or seeing such statements."

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Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and a member of the National Advisory Board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. See  (more...)

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