|Judge Amy Coney Barrett|
A lede in a story covering Senator Dick Blumenthal’s second day questioning of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Barrett correctly reports that the senator “spent most of his allotted half hour Tuesday questioning Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett about her support for an organization that says life begins at fertilization and on her controversial dissent in a gun case.”
At the beginning of his questioning, Blumenthal assured Barrett that her Catholic faith was not on the questioning chopping block. But it was. Blumenthal is a master of insinuation, and pro-abortion-at-any-stage-of-pregnancy-Democrats such as Blumenthal, a regulator-in-chief Attorney General in Connecticut who unaccountably has opposed all and every attempt to regulate the abortion industry, is clearly combative in the presence of Catholics. The anti-Barrett forces, who are legion, have questioned feverishly Barrett’s association with a Catholic group regarded as a cult by many progressive ascendant elements in the Democrat Party.
Blumenthal has not been questioned closely concerning his own associations with such groups. And, of course, there are in the country some fervent anti-Catholics who believe – half a century after historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the author of more than 20 books and President John Kennedy’s biographer, told us that anti-Catholicism is the oldest prejudice in the United States – that Catholics are programmatically incapable of permitting their constitutional religious rights to be discarded by revolutionary progressives.
Blumenthal, not always reckless, who can speak with the tongue of an angel, knows that he must tread softly in a state heavily populated by Catholics of all races – second wave Irish, heavily persecuted in post-potato-famine days, second wave Italians from the poorer sections of Italy, Hispanics seeking shelter from atheist, pro-socialist communists in Latin America, and Greek Orthodox Catholics fleeing the sword of Islam, most of whom still cling faithfully to their bibles and, not surprisingly, to their guns.
Not everyone in Connecticut is a Harvard graduate who has overcome the Catholic dogma that sings loudly within them. And not everyone in Blumenthal’s home state, Connecticut, trusts the police, whom progressive Democrats want to defund, to arrive in a timely manner on their doorsteps after they have been called for assistance. In Connecticut, every attempt to cage second amendment rights after a horrific and murderous assault – the fatal attack by two parolees on the wife and two children of Dr. William Pettit, now a state senator, comes to mind – gun sales in the state spike sharply.
On the very last day of her public testimony before the Judiciary Committee, Blumenthal prepared a cunning trap for Barrett. He asked her to affirm or “grade precedents” in three prior Supreme Court cases, 1) Brown v. Board of Education, 2) Loving v. Virginia, and 3) Griswold v. Connecticut. In 1) the court ruled that that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, in 2) that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional, and in 3) that the purchase and use by married couples of contraceptives without government restriction was protected by the constitution.
Barrett responded that Brown and Loving had been correctly decided. She was willing to say so on this occasion because what she had said “in print, either my scholarly work or in judicial opinions is fair game,” and she had in the past said that Brown had been correctly decided. However, she declined in the case of Griswold to “grade precedents,” that is to give a “thumbs up or down” to rulings she had not commented on-- for the best of reasons: the canon of judicial ethics forbade her from doing so. Blumenthal, for 20 years the Attorney General of Connecticut, knew that he was asking Barrett to violate a judicial Canon; never-the-less, he pressed on, pulling out all the emotional stops.
“Every time you ask me a question about whether [or not] a question was correctly decided,” Barrett responded, “I cannot answer that question because I cannot suggest agreement or disagreement with precedents of the Supreme Court. All of those precedents bind me now as a Seventh Circuit judge and were I to be confirmed I would be responsible for applying the law of stare decisis to all of them.”
According to a piece in National Review, Blumenthal then asked the judge “to think of how she would feel as a gay or lesbian American ‘to hear that you can’t answer whether the government can make it a crime for them to have that relationship, whether the government can enable people who are happily married to continue that relationship,” at which point “Barrett pushed back, saying the senator was implying she would cast a vote to overrule Obergefell [ v. Hodges],” a case in which the high court found that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry.
Her personal feelings, she had said dozens of times during her testimony, cannot and would not be permitted to color her prospective decisions on the court. Defendants and plaintiffs in every court in the land expect judges to apply the law and the Constitution to their decisions – not their personal preferences.
“I’m not even expressing a view in disagreement of Obergefell,” Barrett told Blumenthal, stepping nimbly and properly around a snare that would have impaired her objective decisions in future cases. “You’re pushing me to try to violate the judicial Canons of ethics and to offer advisory opinions and I won’t do that.”