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.