Amy Coney Barrett and her membership on the board of anti-gay Christian schools

October 22, 2020 • 1:00 pm

We all know that there was nothing that Amy Coney Barrett could have said in her Senate hearings that would have barred her from taking up a Supreme Court seat with the enthusiastic approval of the GOP. And no, I don’t think her expressed religious views should be ignored completely—not if a reasonable person could think that they would affect her rulings as a Justice. If someone really believes that there is a God-given behavior or morality that cannot be violated, can we really trust them to put aside a deeply held religious faith, like Barrett’s, and vote for a law that contravenes God’s will? I think we have enough doubt about Barrett’s behavior and previous statements to call her legal objectivity into question.

But of course it doesn’t matter. She’s ready to warm RBG’s empty chair.

As if we needed another reason to be scared about Barrett and the conservative court rolling back decades of social progress, the Associated Press has a long piece detailing Barrett’s three-year history as a trustee of three private Christian schools with an explicitly anti-gay policy. No gay teachers can teach there, and no kids from same-sex partnerships can learn there.

According to the courts, these policies aren’t illegal, as the schools Barrett supervised were private and religious. But it doesn’t speak well about how she’ll rule in cases involving gay rights, especially because she refused to answer, during the hearings, whether she agreed with the Court’s ruling in Obergefell v Hodges, the case that legalized same-sex marriage. That case was decided 5-4, but would now be decided, based on the Court’s upcoming composition, against same-sex marriage.

Click on the screenshot to read; it’s a long piece but well worth reading.

I’m going to quote instead of paraphrase as I’m busy squabbling with misguided Trump sympathizers and Biden critics in the comments on my previous post, and I also have ducks to feed.

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom.

The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., both before Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she served.

The three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia, are affiliated with People of Praise, an insular community rooted in its own interpretation of the Bible, of which Barrett and her husband have been longtime members. At least three of the couple’s seven children have attended the Trinity School at Greenlawn, in South Bend, Indiana.

The AP spoke with more than two dozen people who attended or worked at Trinity Schools, or former members of People of Praise. They said the community’s teachings have been consistent for decades: Homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage and marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Interviewees told the AP that Trinity’s leadership communicated anti-LGBTQ policies and positions in meetings, one-on-one conversations, enrollment agreements, employment agreements, handbooks and written policies — including those in place when Barrett was an active member of the board. Trinity Schools Inc. is a tax-exempt non-profit organization that receives some financial support from government-funded tuition voucher programs, according to its federal tax returns.

The AP tried to dig deeper, but were rebuffed by the White House, while people who know Barrett are also scared:

The AP sent detailed questions for Barrett to the White House press office. Rather than providing direct answers, White House spokesman Judd Deere instead accused AP of attacking the nominee.

“Because Democrats and the media are unable to attack Judge Barrett’s sterling qualifications, they have instead turned to pathetic personal attacks on her children’s Christian school, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that religious schools are protected by the First Amendment,” Deere said in an email.

Nearly all the people interviewed for this story are gay or said they have gay family members. They used words such as “terrified,” “petrified” and “frightening” to describe the prospect of Barrett on the high court. Some of them know Barrett, have mutual friends with her or even have been in her home dozens of times. They describe her as “nice” or “a kind person,” but told the AP they feared others would suffer if Barrett tries to implement People of Praise’s views on homosexuality on the Supreme Court.

Should we be scared that Barrett will roll back progress when she gets on the Court? You’re damn right we should. If I don’t miss my guess, she will be worse than Thomas and Scalia combined. If you think God hates gays, are you going to go against his will if Obergefell gets re-litigated? (I doubt it will: that decision was so wide-ranging and affected so many people then surely stare decisis will hold.) But as far as future gay rights cases go, fuggedabout it. And that goes for other issues too, including abortion, gun legislation, and so on.

Barrett’s history—now including her being a trustee of anti-gay religious schools—combined with her previous pronouncements, not only make her unfit as an “objective” justice, but justify having asked her about how her religious views will impact her rulings. She said, as expected, that they won’t, but we all know that was a nudge nudge, wink wink.


28 thoughts on “Amy Coney Barrett and her membership on the board of anti-gay Christian schools

  1. “I’m busy squabbling with misguided Trump sympathizers and Biden critics in the comments on my previous post, and I also have ducks to feed.” I hope you don’t mix these up…

  2. The really bad thing about all this, it was not known in time to even question her in the hearings about this. Democrats lose again. This religious group she was in and is part of, is a cult, plain and simple. They are extreme in their views of women, of gays and just about anything but themselves. Being a judge of anything is bad news. They speak in tongue – should have asked her for a sample of that. I think the women in this cult are called handmaidens.

    1. Everything you say is correct, but, as I said, there’s nothing she could have said, nothing she could have done, that would cost her the nomination.

      Yes, sometimes they were called handmaidens, and they do speak in tongues.

      1. On the subject of Trump, a warning. I have listened to his interview with Leslie Stahl for 60 minutes. For whatever reason he released his video today. It will likely be on 60 minutes Sunday. I would not recommend anyone wasting their time watching this thing. Just as Trump cannot do debate, he also cannot do interview. However, if you want to see a crazy person in action be sure to watch.

        1. 60 minutes gave the interview to the WH for archival purposes and didn’t want Trump to release it before Sunday. He said he released it early because he wanted to show everyone how rude they were to him. Boohoo. Asking Trump a straight forward question is rude…how dare someone question Trump’s immaculate presidency. I’m actually surprised they released it; from what I’ve seen and heard, it doesn’t show him in a good light (as if that’s possible). Trump can’t seem to make the right decision if his life depended on it. Fine by me.

          1. Well, it was Trump in full melt down.

            To see something more entertaining I would recommend the Obama campaign speech he gave yesterday at the drive in event. He took Trump apart.

            1. I saw the highlights of his speech; yeah, his critique of Trump was withering. It was also wonderfully funny and energetic.

    2. I’ve been thinking about this, Mr. Coyne. Amy Coney Barrett served as Trustee for three years at a school her children attended. (ordinary) She was one of many on the board. (typical situation) It is a school aligned with principles of the religion she practices. (let’s see, kinda’ like Catholics and Notre Dame, only more intense?) The policy in question, odious as it is, is legal and she didn’t write it. Given all that and despite her well-reasoned judicial rulings to date, you sound concerned she is going to take over and invoke the rule of GOD over SCOTUS. And do this as ONE justice of nine. Color me skeptical. I’ll read a few of her decisions as justice before deciding if we should condemn her.

      1. Has she not explicitly stated somewhere in her writings that judges should defer to religious belief and to the Pope?
        Yes, she has.

        She is a cultist.

  3. For a few wee years’ time now, I ‘ve been trying
    to follow some various states’ trajectories
    in their attempting to bring up to the Land’s
    Highest Court … … cases which … … actually likely … … CAN end up upending
    stare decisis verdicts of said Supreme Court.

    This specific person, Ms Amy Coney Barrett,
    along then with five other, even less
    cultishy thinking others … … and, then,
    with these several states’ legally aggressive
    loons utterly frightens me.

    And, right now, withIN the ‘ soon ‘ rather than
    the later – on. I am believing that I shall
    be dead, now, before ‘ things ‘ can actually ever
    be worthily egalitarian.


    1. In to me today from m’First Cousin Ms Linda Lu,
      godless feminist:
      ” A Day in the Life of Sue Republican

      Sue gets up at 6 am and fills her coffeepot
      with water to prepare her morning coffee.
      The water is clean and good because some
      tree – hugging liberal fought for minimum
      water – quality standards.

      With her first swallow of coffee, she takes
      her daily medication. Her medications are
      safe to take because some stupid commie
      liberal fought to insure their safety and
      that they work as advertised. All but $10 of
      her medications are paid for by her
      employer’s medical plan because some liberal
      union workers fought their employers for
      paid medical insurance – so now Sue gets it,

      She prepares her morning breakfast, bacon
      and eggs. Sue’s bacon is safe to eat because
      some girly – man liberal fought for laws
      to regulate the meat packing industry.

      In the shower, Sue reaches for her shampoo.
      Her bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total
      contents because some crybaby liberal fought
      for her right to know what she was putting
      on her body and how much it contained.

      Sue dresses, walks outside and takes a deep
      breath. The air she breathes is clean because
      some environmentalist wacko liberal fought
      for laws to stop industries from polluting
      our air.

      She walks to the subway station for her
      government – subsidized ride to work. It saves
      her considerable money in parking and
      transportation fees because some fancy – pants
      liberal fought for affordable public
      transportation, which gives everyone
      the opportunity to be a contributor.

      Sue begins her work day. She has a good job
      with excellent pay, medical benefits,
      retirement, paid holidays and vacation
      because some lazy liberal union members
      fought and died for these working standards.

      Sue’s employer pays these standards because
      Sue’s employer doesn’t want his employees
      to call the union. If Sue is hurt on the job
      or becomes unemployed, she’ll get a worker
      compensation or unemployment check because
      some stupid liberal didn’t think she should
      lose her home because of her temporary

      It is noon and Sue needs to make a bank
      deposit so she can pay some bills. Sue’s
      deposit is federally insured by the FDIC
      because some godless liberal wanted to
      protect Sue’s money from unscrupulous bankers
      who ruined the banking system before the
      Great Depression.

      Sue has to pay her Fannie Mae – underwritten
      mortgage and her below – market federal
      student loan because some elitist liberal
      decided that Sue and the government would
      be better off if she were educated and earned
      more money over her lifetime.

      Sue is home from work. She plans to visit
      her father this evening at his farm home
      in the country. She gets in her car for
      the drive. Her car is among the safest
      in the world because some America – hating
      liberal fought for car safety standards.

      She arrives at her childhood home.
      Her generation was the third to live in
      the house financed by Farmers’ Home
      Administration because bankers did not want
      to make rural loans. The house did not have
      electricity until some big – government
      liberal stuck his nose where it did not belong
      and demanded rural electrification.

      She is happy to see her father, who is now
      retired. Her father lives on Social Security
      and a union pension because some wine –
      drinking, cheese – eating liberal made sure
      he could take care of himself so
      Sue would not have to.

      Sue gets back in her car for the ride home,
      and turns on a radio talk show. The radio
      host keeps saying that liberals are bad and
      conservatives are good. He does not mention
      that Republicans have fought against every
      protection and benefit Sue enjoys throughout
      her day. Sue agrees: ‘ We don’t need those
      big – government liberals ruining our lives !
      After all, I sm self – made and believe
      everyone should take care of themselves,
      just like I have. ‘ ~ Kathy Joe North ”


  4. Hey, what’s religious liberty come to if it doesn’t mean you can punish an innocent child because you disapprove of the sexual conduct of that child’s parents?

    This is what happens when an opposition party is afforded an insufficient opportunity to vet a SCOTUS nominee because the party in power is endeavoring to ram the nominee onto the Court with reckless celerity in advance of losing that power in an impending election.

    1. Heck Ken. We could discuss the 500 plus kids down on the boarder removed from their parents by Trump, as much as three years ago. And they will never see their parents again.

  5. With Barrett, there will be an erosion of people’s civil rights and healthcare and an expansion of corporate power and “religious liberty” (a euphemism for the Christian religion telling everyone else how to behave). Biden and a flipped Senate is our only hope to stop the US from turning into a theocratic oligarchy. In less than two weeks we’ll see if America as we knew it will survive.

  6. Her LGBT views are awful but do they really matter? Obergefell made gay marriage legal and Bostok won work place protections for gay and trans people. Neither will be overturned and the latter had a 6-3 margin.

    For the first time in my life, I can say I am pretty happy with gay rights in the US. Are there any major LGBT court cases coming?

    1. A few weeks ago, Alito and Thomas said Obergefell should be overturned; with Barrett, they have enough right-wing justices to do it, and they know it. It’s just a matter of time before SCOTUS takes up a case that overturns the ruling, or at least weakens it or sends it to the states. There’s always anti-LGBT legislation percolating in the red states.

      1. Stare decisis plus the change in popular opinion make me think that Obergefell is quite safe. The plurality of Republicans now support gay marriage.

        In a quick search, it seems that housing is the only big remaining LGBT issue. Bostok being 6-3 make me think that Gursuch’s libertarian ideals will hold for this as well but I could be wrong.

      2. Takes just four votes to grant certiorari to put a case on the SCOTUS docket. I’m pretty sure CJ Roberts doesn’t want to go there, but if he (and Gorsuch) have the issue thrust upon them, they may feel bound to reverse. After all, Roberts did file a stinging dissent from the majority opinion in Obergefell.

        The best result for SSM would be that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch would decline to provide a fourth vote (joining Thomas, Alito, and Barrett) to grant cert to hear a challenge to Obergefell.

        I don’t think the danger to Obergefell is near as acute as that to Roe v. Wade. SCOTUS may dodge the abortion issue, too — as I’m pretty sure CJ Roberts would prefer, by just chipping away at it — but if they fail to reverse Roe, the evangelical Right will go absolutely freakin’ bonkers. It’s been frustrated for decades now by what it sees as its betrayal by Republican SCOTUS appointees. Reversing Roe was, at long last, to be the quid pro quo in their Faustian bargain to back Trump.

  7. But wait – there’s more! – as you say, professor:
    One lurking disaster under the waterline here is something called “Chevron v NRDC”. It is a case ALL attorneys know but few others do.

    It is incredibly important and possibly the most cited case in US jurisprudence.
    What is DOES it cede power to the administrative agencies (FAA, EPA, HUD, etc) and to overturn it would be “the destruction of the administrative state” — the stated goal of Bannon and his hard right allies.
    Roe v Wade is a sideshow next to Chevron. I think she wants to chip away at it.

    Your law class begins NOW!,_Inc._v._Natural_Resources_Defense_Council,_Inc.

    D.A., J.D., NYC
    ever the cat and d-g lover

  8. I’m just browsing through this morning in WordPress reader, so pardon me for butting in. It amazes me how many gay people fear having a “right” taken away to be married. Meanwhile back at the ranch, 90% of those who are or claim to be “married”, all are on Grindr and Scruff looking for a side piece of ass while claiming to be in love…

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