Amy Coney Barrett heads for the Supreme Court, Pelosi’s ‘quiver’ notwithstanding

Special to

By Bill Juneau

Shortly after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Sept. 18, ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos hosted his “news” show and had as his principle guest House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Together they discussed the evil President Trump.

A political team, they shared thoughts as to what action the Democrats might take so as to block, stall and ultimately defeat the appointment by President Trump of a new justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett and her family at the White House on Sept. 26. / Office of the United States First Lady

Stephanopoulos laid aside his “journalistic” cap and was his old Democrat self, a student who found his way at the feet of Bill and Hillary Clinton. So, one-on-one with Pelosi, the octogenarian Trump-hater, he promptly raised the possibility of another impeachment of the President, or maybe even of his Attorney General William Barr. How about, he inquired, the always controversial funding of America’s budget — hinting at a possible “shut down” of the country. He saw it as a clever maneuver which might kick Trump and delay action on a new candidate to fill the Ginsburg vacancy.

The aged Pelosi said that she had many options for what might be done — “arrows in her quiver,” as she put it, but that she would not discuss them. On creating a budget battle, Pelosi noted that many on the far left felt that that was the “way to go.” Pelosi said that she did not foresee a shut down which would cause too many problems to hardworking Americans. But she agreed with the obsequious Stephanopoulos that nothing was “off the table.”

In the days following the TV debacle, “This week with George Stephanopoulos,” Pelosi did what she could to attack and bad mouth President Trump, using what she called “arrows” in her “quiver.” But it was all for nix. It left Pelosi with just an empty “quiver,” relying solely on the hypocritical Democrat leader in the senate, Chuck Schumer to fire up Democrats in the Senate to go after thee Trump nominee with the same gutter axe that they used last year on Brett Kavanaugh — now Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh.

On Saturday, six days after the Stephanopoulos news show with Pelosi, President Trump introduced his candidate to fill the vacancy — Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, and an admired professor at the University of Notre Dame Law school. The 7th Circuit, one of 13 in the nation, exercises jurisdiction over legal controversies in Illinois, Indiana and a portion of Wisconsin. Judge Barrett is the author of hundreds of opinions.

Judge Barrett, who at one time served as a clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, spoke briefly in the Rose Garden ceremony promising that she will decide cases in accord with the constitution and will not be making laws. She spoke with humility and told of he love for America and then introduced her husband, Jesse, and her seven children which include two adopted youngsters from Jamaica.

Justice Barrett, 48, well admired and respected for her scholarly opinions, had been approved as a Appellate Court justice three years ago by the Senate with all Republicans and even some Democrats voting for her. Attacks on her because of her Catholic religion made her detractors appear obtuse and unprofessional.

The late Justice Ginsburg, 87, an associate justice for 27 years, was a warrior her entire career on behalf of women’s rights. Her opinions and her liberal views were well known and she brought to the bench a reputation for coming down on the side of women. She first demonstrated her push on behalf of women’s rights while serving for 10 years as general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Justice Barrett is seen by Democrats as a conservative jurist who would favor the rewriting and overruling of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision which has allowed women to have abortions, as desired. Justice Ginsburg supported Roe v Wade though she acknowledged that it was poorly reasoned.

The Roe decision is based upon a woman’s right of privacy which is not spelled out in the Constitution, but believed to exist in the penumbra of the Bill of Rights. According to Roe, that right of privacy endows women with the right to choose and control their own bodies. It is that right to choose which enables women to have abortions.

Conservative critics of the Roe decision, argue that a fetus has rights also and that its life began at conception. The Supreme Court has never ruled as to when life begins, only that a fetus becomes a person deserving of constitutional protection at the moment of birth. As it stands presently, a fetus is not protected and can be aborted at any time, even in those seconds before the baby takes its first breath.

With the President’s formal introduction of his nominee to the court, preparations were underway by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee to hold hearings and to allow senators to question the nominee on her judicial philosophies.

In 2017, the Senate confirmed Judge Barrett for her position on the Court of Appeals. At the hearings, Sen. Feinstein of California sought to impugn Barrett’s independence, alleging that speeches Barrett had given revealed her allegiance to her Catholic religion and that its “dogma” dominated her thinking. The upshot of Feinstein’s outrageous comments served only to reveal the senator’s dim and biased political thinking, and the Senate promptly endorsed Barrett as a justice by a 55 to 43 vote.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee said that he will move the confirmation hearings forward expeditiously. Mitch McConnell, president of the 100 member Senate, said that the hearings will be completed with a vote by senators in October, prior to the Nov. 3 election.

Ratification and consent for the nominee requires a simple majority of the sitting senators. The Senate has 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats and 51 of the senators have said that they will be voting yes for Mrs. Barrett, McConnell has said.

Bill Juneau worked for 25 years as a reporter and night city editor at the Chicago Tribune. Subsequently he became a partner in a law firm and also served as a village prosecutor and as a consultant to the Cook County Circuit Court and to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He is currently writing columns and the ‘Florida Bill‘ blog.