After the first week of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Trump’s allies patted themselves on the back for pulling off quite the charade and putting forward a nominee who would fulfill their wildest dreams. They waxed on about Barrett’s “character” and worked aggressively to frame her in the context of her home, family, and faith. But what they didn’t really talk about is Barrett’s qualifications as a judge.
I have to admit, it felt like an effective strategy. As I ended each day of watching the hearings, I wondered why I myself felt pulled toward Barrett even though I knew the truth: she would gut my rights if she got to the Supreme Court. She struck me at times as courteous, maybe even approachable. But this is precisely the Amy Coney Barrett that her allies wanted me to see: the woman sitting before us with her family of seven kids including—as we were repeatedly reminded—two adopted children from Haiti and a child with special needs, and her husband and siblings. So throughout the hearing, I had to remind myself that this was all an illusion, that indeed, these traits ring hollow when it comes to the Supreme Court.
As others have noted, Barrett’s supporters crafted an image of a nice white woman and weaponized it. Who cares about her views on racial equity if she’s a good mom? Why does it matter if she opposes abortion access if she’s a helpful professor? But the focus on Barrett’s character and her “niceness” are all a shiny distraction from her terrifying record. When she refused to answer question after question, it wasn’t because of her self-professed obligation to be impartial, but because she needed to disguise her extremist approach to the law.
Rest assured, Amy Coney Barrett will take your rights away, with a smile.
Piece by piece, she will dismantle health care rights and access to abortion care and birth control. Barrett will threaten protections for workers, voters, students, LGBTQ+ individuals, and survivors of sexual assault. She will be the crucial vote in many cases before the Supreme Court, cases that our lives will depend on.
So sure, Barrett’s “nice.” But her approach to the law is fundamentally cruel.
We cannot allow the Senate to rest their case on hollow qualities and distractions like her preferred parenting style or who does the chores in her home. They would have you believe that the fight is over with Barrett’s confirmation. But don’t be fooled. Our rights, our lives, and our dignity are on the line, and so the fight has just begun.