If I were a Senator I wouldn’t vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett
Sorry, but my argument against voting to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is a bit more nuanced than the headline would suggest (at least, in my mind it is). And, sorry again, but it has less to do with her qualifications (or, lack thereof) than who nominated her, the timing, and reasons the Republicans are pushing her through.
First, Trump does nothing unless he figures there’s a benefit to himself. So, knowing that this coming election could be thrown to the Supreme Court, à la 2000, the question becomes “Why did Trump choose Amy Coney Barrett over another jurist?” The only answer I can come up with is that there must be something in one or more of her opinions or other writings (law school, prior, or after) that would indicate her willingness to vote in Trump’s favor, either by deciding some votes don’t count, or through some other decision that tips the balance in Trump’s favor. That right there, that misapprehension on my part automatically disqualifies her in my mind.
Second, we are literally less than 3 weeks away from a national election, one in which not only is Trump’s current job in jeopardy, but the Republican Senate majority, as well. Poll after poll after poll shows the majority of the country is clamoring for a more progressive, empathetic, unifying future. And, that, right there, means a Democratic President, Democratic majority Senate, and Democratic majority House. It also shows that the majority of the people would rather see a new Supreme Court Justice nominated post-inauguration day 2021 (specifying the year in-case anyone here wants to make the argument that we are, in fact, post-inauguration). Again, all apologies to Judge Barrett, but all that, combined with the McConnell Rule, means these hearing should not be happening, and Judge Barrett’s time is not now.
Lastly, Judge Barrett’s nomination and confirmation is happening at this moment in history for the simple reason that the Republicans know their time is fading. Not only was the Republican Party in danger of irrelevancy pre-Trump, but now that they have, en masse, hooked themselves to Trump and his vitriol the twilight of their relevancy is closer at hand. The only way they can get the America they want, one of White Male Monied Privilege is by stealing the judiciary, which they’ve been doing since before Trump was elected. And I have to hand it to McConnell, he’s been doing a remarkably impressive job. On this, I do believe that turnabout is fair play (all’s fair in love and war, politics, etc.), and the second the Democrats find themselves in control of both Congress and the White House they should pack the Supreme Court, put term limits on judicial appointments (including on Supreme Court Justices), take whatever legislative, Constitutional and procedural remedies they need in order that the expansion of voting rights, equality, and personal liberties continues unfettered. And, as importantly, this sort of vile, destructive political war against those who need the most protection can never happen again. We must be a fair, even, equal and open society if we are to survive as a people, a Nation and as a species.
While I’m not glued to the news stream of the hearings I have been paying enough attention to tell you that Judge Barrett is doing what all other judicial nominees have been doing for quite some time, artfully evading providing any real answer (whether you agree with the reasoning or not it is tremendously frustrating to watch). This tactic does nothing to change my mind, nor does it make me harden my stance.
Simply put, Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is nothing but a craven political move meant to do lasting harm to the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, historical minorities, and to any progressive, liberal, freedom expanding legislative moves the Federal and State Governments want to take. I feel for Judge Barrett, for I’m sure she’s aware of the underlying motivations for her nomination, and that can’t be a good pill to swallow. And, if I were in her shoes I’m not sure I would feel right about declining the nomination, knowing that it’s more about Politics than about Constitutional duty and fealty, and that if it weren’t me it would be someone else.
On the other hand, I get the feeling she’s not feeling all that bad, and even if she were given an out she wouldn’t take it. But, that’s pure opinion and speculation on my part. (As I write this she gave Senator Tillis the answer, and I’ll paraphrase it here, that she believes there is more good in her nomination and this process at this time than not. And, she believes in the rule of law and our freedoms and institutions and that the Supreme Court is a great good and she wants to participate to protect all that.)
At the end of the day (or, hearings) I wouldn’t vote to confirm Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court. Not today, not before such a consequential election, and knowing that her nomination was a craven Political move I definitely would not. And, yes, if the tables were turned and this were a Democratic President with a Democratic majority Senate I would still feel the same. But, it’s not and we’re here in this time and this place, and I do look forward to the day when we have a President and a Congress that can right all these wrongs, work to undo the damage and at the end of the day make this current reality something that can never happen again.