The big headline is that yesterday Amy Coney Barrett gave a speech about how unbiased the Supreme Court is, saying, “My goal today is to convince you that this Court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.” Which is definitely side-eye worthy in and of itself. Remember — it was less than two weeks ago that the Court’s shadow docket gave its de facto blessing to Texas’s restrictive abortion law, banning the medical procedure at six weeks. (Though as Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the left-leaning justices perhaps it’s only fair to say the majority — but not the entirety — of the Court are “partisan hacks.”)
But the thing that really gets me is where this BS speech took place. It was at the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the opening of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. Yes, that’s the namesake of Mitch McConnell. The exact same man who shockingly kept the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia vacant for a year to keep Barack Obama from appointing a justice to replace him, ostensibly because there was an election happening nine months later. But then turned around and DID THE EXACT OPPOSITE when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died six WEEKS before the 2020 election.
So, when Barrett tries to protest the partisan nature of the Court:
“The media, along with hot takes on Twitter, report the results and decisions. … That makes the decision seem results-oriented. It leaves the reader to judge whether the court was right or wrong, based on whether she liked the results of the decision,” Barrett said.
WITH MITCH MCCONNELL smiling alongside her. Well, we know when we are being served some warmed over bullshit.
And at a blatantly partisan event, as Fix the Court’s Gabe Roth notes:
“If Justice Barrett wants the Supreme Court not to be seen as partisan, she should avoid being hosted by a center named after the most partisan person in America. There’s value in members of the high court speaking to audiences outside of Washington, but that concept is corrupted when stretched to rationalize appearing at events that look and sound like political pep rallies.”
Plus, this non-partisan, “just calling balls and strikes” lie has been trotted out before. Like when ACB refused to answer how she’d rule on an abortion case. But here we are, abortions after six weeks illegal in Texas with ACB as the deciding vote. Just as we all predicted. Because Donald Trump campaigned on the promise he’d pick Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe “automatically.” And Coney Barrett’s record shows that, in this case, Trump kept that promise. She ruled against reproductive rights the two times the issue was before her on the Seventh Circuit, and her writings before her time on the federal bench reveal an extreme viewpoint on abortion rights.
So don’t just accept Coney Barrett’s words without context — especially not when the nonverbals tell the real story.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).