n a lazy, overcast Sunday I sat down on my couch with my favorite seasonal pumpkin mug. I opened up my Tinder app and scrolled through my messages, still half asleep, but wanting something to distract me. A guy had sent me a message, wanting to know what I was up to and how my morning was so far. I wrote back that I’m “pretty good, just getting caffeinated before I start writing this article I was assigned about Amy Coney Barrett.”
He responded enthusiastically that while he didn’t align with her politically he “really liked her.” I thought that odd considering he just said he doesn’t support her political views, and I highly doubt he knows her personally, but he said he “just liked her and couldn’t tell you why.” I shrugged to myself and went on with my early morning tindering.
Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee for supreme court justice, to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away, is indeed reportedly “popular” among her peers and students (she is a law professor at University of Notre Dame). I can’t help but wonder if her “likeability” (most likely due to her being a white woman and not necessarily through her as a person) is maybe lulling us into a false sense of security. We as an American culture are so used to seeing white women portrayed as “harmless,” and I (as a white woman) can attest to this fact, as I have seen the ways in which my whiteness combined with being a woman, has let me fly under the radar in situations where Women of Color, especially Black women (and men), wouldn’t be afforded the same benefit of the doubt and presumption of “goodness” and “harmlessness”.
I was surprised in my research for this piece, how complacent most people in government (Dems, included) are about her. Former Clerk to Justice Neil Gorsuch Mike Davis is quoted as saying, “ Frankly, I’m surprised that the Democrats aren’t being more aggressive,” he added. “It went from unhinged during Kavanaugh to like whipped puppies this time.” I believe her to be a sleeping tiger, and what I mean is that I believe people on both sides of the aisle are underestimating the impact she could have in the supreme court. and I think anyone who cares about reproductive justice — especially pertaining to folks with uteruses, because of her proven record of being against abortion — needs to take her as a serious threat.
ACB’s “likeability” is precisely why she is such a threat, and this article is aimed at informing mostly people with uteruses, but really anyone — because reproductive justice affects everyone. Likeability can be extremely toxic and misleading, especially with AFAB folks (assigned female at birth). In fact, Human Rights Campaign, in a recent press release stated that they “fervently oppose Coney Barrett’s nomination…” There are a lot of long, tedious and confusing articles out there about Amy Coney Barrett, but I’ve condensed everything you need to know about the probable new Supreme Court Justice:
Amy Coney Barrett Is an Originalist
This means that Ms. Coney Barrett believes that the U.S. The Constitution should be interpreted literally, with no accounting for the change in times and the changes in our society since the Constitution was written. This is dangerous because the U.S. The Constitution at the time it was written waaaay back in September of 1787 still did not acknowledge Black Americans as people equal to a white man in their humanity, but rather as property. According to Howard Zinn’s famous book, A People’s History of the United States: From 1492 to Present, Black American slaves didn’t even begin to have the first rustlings of freedom from the evils of slavery until the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, and more so with the 13th amendment which declared an end to slavery.
Women of all races were second class citizens to white men (but more so Women of Color), and Indigenous people were labeled godless “savages” that needed to speak English and dress like the white Americans dressed and practice the religion that white people practiced. Any reasonable, logical human being should know that the constitution should NOT be interpreted literally and definitely must account for the change in the times and social climate.
It’s also rather hypocritical of ACB to even accept the nomination for supreme court justice, when as an Originalist and according to her own beliefs, she wouldn’t be allowed to be a judge of any kind as a woman. We can’t trust anyone with important legislation on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and reproductive justice who may have these similar beliefs, which are rooted in oppression.
She will tip the scales on the U.S. Supreme Court
Amy Coney Barrett, as the sixth conservative judge alongside Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts, could be a key swing vote on several abortion cases making their way to the supreme court right now, as there are already five existing conservative judges.
Democrats originally cautioned that they would slow any process to fast-track a supreme court justice before the election, as reported in USA Today, but essentially gave up as Senator after Senator, both swing Republicans and staunch Republicans, began voting in favor of Barrett. At this point, it was rapidly becoming clear that the Democrats would have no ability to halt the nomination.During the confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett, Sam Erman, a law professor at USC, as reported by USA Today, said he was “struck by the Democrats sense of ‘resignation’ throughout the hearing.”
She was mentored by the late Justice Antonin Scalia
Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was known for his “dissenting opinions” within the court. According to NPR, Scalia was outraged when the court struck down a state law making homosexual conduct in private illegal; "It is clear from this that the court has taken sides in the culture war, and in particular in that battle of the culture war that concerns whether there should be any moral opprobrium attached to homosexual conduct,"
About abortion he is on record as saying in relation to the case of Stenberg V. Carhart (2000), …”The method of killing a human child — one cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child — proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion. … Scalia was an Originalist, and a staunch proponent of second amendment gun rights. Scalia was pro-death penalty, pro-gun, and anti-gay.
He succeded in striking down a bill to outlaw handguns in the District of Columbia, as well as voting against a bill that would have made the death penalty illegal for the mentally and developmentally disabled (the exact language of the law here is a term I am not in support of, but Scalia wasn’t a man to mince words or pay attention to intentional language). As NPR reports, he also famously referred to evolution as a “guess” … “and a bad one at that.”
She is on record as stating she is anti-abortion
Though Amy Coney Barrett largely successfully dodged questions about Roe V. Wade in her four day long confirmation hearing, she is absolutely on record as being against the right to choose. However, in her hearing, she did acknowledge that she signed two anti-abortion ads for the end of Roe V. Wade, in which, according to CBS News, she is quoted saying, “It’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe. V. Wade.” Additionally, CBS News reports that back in 2013, she included her signature in a paid anti-Roe V. Wade ad in which she stated ‘We faculty and staff at the University of Notre Dame reaffirm our full support for our university’s commitment to the right to life; we renew the call for the unborn to be protected in law.”
What you can do right now to protect your reproductive rights and the reproductive rights of anyone with a uterus:
- Don’t be afraid to talk openly about abortion: Talk about abortion as openly as you can (in the abstract and personally, if you’re comfortable and safe to do so). Abortion is something that is highly stigmatized, but talking about it serves to normalize it. Shout Your Abortion is a really rad project that aims to do just that.
- Know your risk level: This means, in your state how at risk are you of not being able to get access to an abortion or birth control because of your state’s laws? For example, it’s pretty well established that Republican-lead states are going to have more laws that cause unnecessary hurdles and difficulties for someone seeking an abortion. If Roe V. Wade is struck down, the default will go to each individual state to govern for itself on reproductive justice law.
- Don’t be complacent; make a backup plan. When ACB gets confirmed (it’s a matter of when unfortunately, not if) what can you do to make yourself and your bodily autonomy safer? If you can, stock up on Plan B, go get that IUD you’ve been thinking about, get on PrEP, stockpile condoms or dental dams. Use this link to find free condoms near you.
- Get familiar with reproductive rights laws in your state, including not just abortion, but ACA and birth control laws
Amy Coney Barrett is a threat, make no mistake. Just because she’s a “likeable” white woman does not mean she couldn’t be as detrimental to reproductive justice as Antonin Scalia was or Brett Kavanaugh. Just because she’s a woman does not mean she isn’t capable of hurting other women and anyone with a uterus with her rulings. Know your state laws, don’t be complacent, and don’t be afraid to talk openly about abortion, when and where it feels safe to you to do so. Especially if you have first hand experience.
Get ready to fight, because Amy Coney Barrett is.