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September 28, 2020 / Memos

Some Republicans Are Speaking in Code to Mask Amy Coney Barrett’s Hostility to Reproductive Freedom


Re: Don’t be fooled—some Republicans are speaking in code to mask Amy Coney Barrett’s hostility to reproductive freedom

 

Trump, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are laser-focused on jamming through the confirmation of another Trump ideologue to the Court, establishing a Trump supermajority on the bench that would endanger our fundamental rights and freedoms for generations. This entire charade to install someone on the bench while Americans are already casting ballots is an affront to our democracy and Amy Coney Barrett is another sure vote for Trump and his agenda on the Court. Let’s keep our eyes wide open and not lose sight of what exactly this attempted hijacking of the Supreme Court means for the American people, including those who may need access to birth control or abortion care. 

Let’s be clear: With voting already underway, it should be left up to the American people to decide who gets to nominate the next Supreme Court justice. No nomination should be considered until after Inauguration Day.

Despite Trump’s blatant promises that his nominee would work to overturn Roe, there has still been baseless speculation thatdespite all evidenceshe may not attack reproductive freedom. Make no mistake, Barrett will be hostile to reproductive freedom and Roe v. Wade. Explicit opposition to Roe is a litmus test for Trump’s judicial nominees and Amy Coney Barrett not only has a troubling anti-choice judicial record, her allegiances are perfectly clear: She will be beholden to the anti-choice movement and she has already proven that as a circuit judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. (And no, posing questions to her about her views and judicial philosophy is not anti-Catholic.)

Anti-choice Republicans know that having a Supreme Court nominee publicly commit to overturn or gut Roe v. Wade risks serious public backlash, given the popularity of reproductive freedom and the fact that a strong majority of Americans (77%) support Roe. Instead, they have trained their base to recognize code words like “originalist,” “textualist,” “constitutionalist,” “loyal to the constitution” or “judicial restraint” which translates to “anti-choice” and “hostile to Roe,” not to mention a whole host of other things like the Affordable Care Act, voting rights, racial justice and LGBTQ equality. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and some other Republican Senators want to shed the veneer of judicial neutrality and get a clear answer from nominees to the Supreme Court about their commitment to undoing Roe, public backlash or no, so we’ll be watching closely to see how closely Barrett hews to the old ways of doing business and dancing around her true judicial philosophy.

As Melissa Murray, a New York University law professor, points out in a recent Michelle Goldberg opinion piece for the New York Times, after years of obfuscation from judicial nominees, forcing the question could have some powerful results:

“It would actually be more galvanizing for Democrats if the Republicans would just either do what they say they want to do, overturn Roe and face the political backlash that that would engender,” said Murray, “or have their nominee just say explicitly, ‘I don’t believe there is a constitutional right to abortion.’”

We know that if Trump successfully installs Barretton top of Gorsuch and Kavanaughon the Supreme Court, it will decimate our rights and threaten our freedoms for generations. Republicans may deploy the same strategy this time around, or they may decide to unmask their true motivations to really rile up their fringe base. Just don’t let them fool anyone with claims of respecting precedent, the way Sen. Susan Collins tried to rationalize her decisive vote for Kavanaugh

Regardless of how they decide to jam through this nomination and what excuses they provide, it’s imperative that we stay one step ahead, decoding their proxy language and shining a bright light on their strategy of deflection and distraction when their true aims are clear: control people’s ability to determine their own destinies.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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