The first day of the Senate hearings that Amy Coney Barrett was retried in the Supreme Court was a shame and sexist spectacle.
First was the simple fact that the hearings were taking place at all. A pandemic continues to devastate the United States after killing more than 210,000 people and devastating the American economy. Millions of Americans are unemployed and struggling to pay their rent or mortgage. They worry about how they can afford groceries. Senate Republicans can̵
The fact that hearings are taking place at all is also egregious, with Mitch McConnell blocking similar hearings to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death in February of an election year. At the time, McConnell and the Republican Party insisted that affirming a judiciary was inadequate and undermined the legitimacy of the court. Many months before an election, the American people should decide who will appoint a new judge. McConnell prevented the Senate from even hearing from Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s candidate. At that time, Amy Coney Barrett went on television saying that it would be inappropriate to replace Scalia in an election year – and that it would be especially inappropriate to replace “the staunchest conservative in the field” with a liberal because “there is no sideways.” Step is ”.
Now is an election year – and it is much, much closer to the election than when Scalia passed away in 2016. The judiciary that has been replaced is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the court’s most staunch liberals. The woman she is supposed to replace is a far-right conservative – not a sideways movement. Yet all of these hypocrites, from McConnell to Senate Republicans to Barrett, are happy to move forward because they are in power this time around.
The hearing was also held indoors as infection rates from an airborne virus are rising across the country. A Republican Senator, Mike Lee, attended the hearings and took off his mask, despite recently testing positive for Covid-19. He appears to have caught the virus at a party celebrating Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, resulting in a super-spreader event with the White House as Ground Zero. Lee, a self-described pro-life lawmaker, insisted on attending the hearings in person anyway, getting everyone in the room, and endangering the support staff who were tasked with cleaning up afterward – anything to do with a to confirm self-described “Pro-Life”. The Supreme Court Candidate for Life, “which any honest person will admit,” was chosen because the President believes they will overthrow Roe v Wade in a controversial election and deprive millions of Americans of their health care by doing that Nullifies Affordable Care Act.
That would be bad enough, but the hearing itself was practically a caricature of how conservative men approach savvy women. There is no question that Barrett is highly respected among her Notre Dame peers and that the conservative attorneys and judges she has worked for say she has a keen legal mind. Still, every Republican who has had the opportunity to speak mentioned Barrett’s status as a mother, typically emphasizing that she has seven children, many of whom are still of school age. Her maternal skills, as well as her professional achievements, were used as evidence of her leadership skills and role model status for young girls.
There is nothing wrong with realizing that Barrett is a mother, or welcoming her children into the room (although I question the wisdom of having six children in a room with a Covid patient and many others recently exposed were). It is not uncommon for the Justice Committee to mention a candidate’s parental status. What is However, it is uncommon for every member of a party to bring it up more than once and even highlight it as a qualification for the bank. Several Republican Senators, for example, noted that Barrett would be the first female justice system with school-age children – a bit of a drag and something hard to imagine being said about a man. Do we know who the first male Supreme Court was with school-age children? Would that even register?
The message from the Republicans seemed to be that Barrett is especially admirable as a woman because of her large family. It is an old sexist proposition that a woman’s worth depends on her fertility – and that children, or large numbers of children, indicate that a woman is more equitable and ready to assume her natural maternal role. It’s also a racist view: white women with large families are often praised by conservatives, while black and brown women with large families are condemned.
Republicans have said time and again that Barrett’s personal life, including her beliefs, should be forbidden. Yet they have repeatedly elevated their personal life, including their faith, as an asset. They seem to want what they claim to want Barrett’s private life to be both a sword and a shield: an argument in their favor, but one that cannot be refuted or even questioned on its own terms, as it would be a criticism of her private beliefs and impose a “religious test”.
It was hypocritical from start to finish. It was also a profound mark of disrespect for American women who want to be professionally judged on our qualifications – not our family size.