Opinion Amy Coney Barrett and the Triumph of Phyllis Schlafly

01:25  27 september  2020
01:25  27 september  2020 Source:   nymag.com

Republicans have said they want to confirm Amy Coney Barrett before Election Day. Here's how long other confirmations took

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Amy Coney Barrett , President Trump’s choice to take her seat, is a signifier of a different sort. By conservative feminism I mean something different from 1970s-era female resistance to the women’s movement, whether in its arch Joan Didion form or its mass-movement Phyllis Schlafly incarnation.

Trump’s expected pick is a member of a ‘covenant community’ that faces claims of a ‘highly authoritarian’ structure.

Consider her out of context, and Amy Coney Barrett looks like a personal and professional success. A wife, a mother of seven, and now maybe a Supreme Court justice, Donald Trump’s new nominee seemingly has it all. Barrett, Trump said while announcing the nomination on Saturday, is a “towering intellect,” an accomplished woman and loving mother who possesses “one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds.”

a close up of Phyllis Schlafly et al. posing for the camera: Left: Julian Velasco/University of Notre Dame Law School Handout/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, Right: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images © Left: Julian Velasco/University of Notre Dame Law School Handout/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, Right: Bettma... Left: Julian Velasco/University of Notre Dame Law School Handout/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, Right: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

But Barrett is a Trump nominee, so the context is rather damning. Trump’s fleeting interest in female empowerment has always been undermined by his own sexism, and by the policies that he and his party prefer. The Barrett nomination reinforces rather than challenges the rule. As a potential successor to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the conservative Catholic judge serves two primary functions. She’ll excite the Christian right ahead of a presidential election, and she outrages the libs. The reasoning isn’t all that sophisticated: Upset by Barrett’s nomination? You’re the real sexist.

Amy Coney Barrett pays homage to conservative mentor Antonin Scalia — 'His judicial philosophy is mine too'

  Amy Coney Barrett pays homage to conservative mentor Antonin Scalia — 'His judicial philosophy is mine too' Barrett, a former Notre Dame law professor, drew clear comparisons between her legal philosophy and Scalia's, saying "his judicial philosophy is mine too."Barrett paid homage to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who led the conservative wing of the high court before his death in 2016, describing him as her mentor.

Trump has told associates he’ll nominate Amy Coney Barrett , an Indiana-based federal appeals court judge, according to people familiar with Even some of Trump’s advisers acknowledge the fight might not offer political salvation, despite allowing him to change the subject from the virus and the economy.

Amy Coney Barrett 's nomination to the US Supreme Court comes as little surprise. And her vote, alongside a conservative majority, could make the difference for decades ahead, especially on divisive issues such as abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act (the Obama-era health insurance provider).

It’s an old trick. Women helped invent it. Barrett is the beneficiary of decades of right-wing activism, much of it carried out by women who not only rejected feminism but sought actively to bring it down low. In her religious conviction and her status as an accomplished but anti-feminist woman, the judge recalls Phyllis Schlafly, who died four years ago this month. Barrett was still a toddler when Schlafly and her militant housewives vanquished the Equal Rights Amendment. But to the left, Barrett is a familiar specter: a traitor to her sex.

We are all living in Schlafly country now. Barrett’s nomination is only the latest evidence. The border separating mainstream conservative politics from the fringe was never all that robust, but in 2020, it is invisible. Schlafly’s far-right, anti-feminist ideology has taken over the Republican Party. It doesn’t yet have the same stranglehold on public opinion. Most Americans think abortion ought to remain legal, and three-quarters even support Schlafly’s old nemesis, the ERA. But the election of Trump is proof that an ideology doesn’t have to be popular to win.

Bio highlights of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's high court pick

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President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett creates a real dilemma for the Democrats. It was also a ruthless personal assault – and the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, again, was Biden. The assault on Judge Brett Kavanaugh was in Biden’s Bork tradition of scandalous

Mitch McConnell. Amy Coney Barrett . Abortion. Schlafly ’s newsletters, the Phyllis Schlafly Report and the Eagle Forum, regularly published cartoons depicting gay Schlafly ’s followers glommed on to this rhetoric; writing countless letters to politicians, warning that the ERA would validate homosexuality.

Liberals haven’t always grasped that lesson. That unfortunate reality was dramatized in Mrs. America, FX’s recent series about Schlafly’s rise to relevance. Faced with a stack of Schlafly’s now-infamous blue newsletters, Margo Martindale’s Bella Abzug quips, “We don’t need to worry about stuff like this on the fringe.” Before too long, Abzug is out of Congress — and out of favor with her own Democratic Party. Schlafly’s future also looks uncertain, as her victories run up against the limitations of her movement. Her anointed candidate, Ronald Reagan, is president; the ERA is dead, or at least comatose. The Republican Party formally opposes abortion and the nascent Christian right looks to her for guidance.

Schlafly never quite made it out of the kitchen, either. She died on the outskirts of power, and never held office. Her organization, Eagle Forum, is dwarfed by Christian right groups with more money and better connections. But we’re still living with her ideas. Schlafly endorsed Trump just before her death, noting in a co-written book that he “had gone to great lengths to court national leaders in the social-conservative movement and has convinced many of the most prominent ones that he genuinely supports their policy positions.” Trump’s appeal hinged largely on the promise of a conservative Supreme Court, which could overturn Roe v. Wade or undermine gender discrimination policy. If the ERA ever does become law, a conservative Supreme Court could kill it, or at least render it so weak that it’s useless.

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The Indiana conservative would replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as a secretive Catholic group, of which Barrett is a member, steps into the spotlight.

Amy Coney Barrett is Donald Trump's pick to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat, according to multiple reports, and judging by Barrett 's past comments, her Barrett , who currently serves on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, is a devout Catholic who has an intractable belief that life begins at conception.

There’s already some evidence that Barrett would oblige. Since she first appeared on Trump’s shortlist in 2018, her anti-choice views have generated references to The Handmaid’s Tale. So does her membership in People of Praise, a “covenant community” that promotes strict gender roles with an emphasis on the submission of women, and which once called female members “handmaidens.” In an appellate court ruling last year, she found that Purdue University may have discriminated against a male student accused of sexual assault. “It is plausible,” she wrote, that university officials “chose to believe [the complainant] Jane because she is a woman and to disbelieve John because he is a man.” It isn’t that plausible, given the rarity of false sexual assault claims. But anti-feminism is a form of denialism. Women didn’t need the ERA, Schlafly argued, because they faced no discrimination. Most didn’t want careers, or fancy educations. They were happy with the privileges they had in the home.

Schlafly, famously, was no housewife, and Barrett is even more of a career woman. Conservative women with professional lives often invite accusations of hypocrisy: The label dogged Schlafly from the 1970s until the end of her life. But liberals don’t help themselves or any of their causes by taking the right-wing’s bait. Something deeper and more threatening than hypocrisy is at work. Schlafly was a pioneer for women. She uncovered the great loophole. For her successors in the Christian right, there is now one acceptable way to take a piece of male authority for themselves, and it runs through professional anti-feminism. The Schlafly track is about power, not ideological purity. Barrett may become its greatest success — a culture warrior almost without equal.

Previewing acrimonious confirmation, Democrats coalesce around Amy Coney Barrett opposition

  Previewing acrimonious confirmation, Democrats coalesce around Amy Coney Barrett opposition Democrats objected to both process and the views of Trump's Supreme Court pick, with one senator saying he won't meet with her.One Democratic senator — Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee — said he would not meet with Barrett, as is customary for members of the committee, in protest of Trump’s decision to rush ahead with the nomination so close to an election.

“ Amy Coney Barrett opposed Merrick Garland’s nomination because: 1. It came the same year as a presidential election, and, 2. She said the nomination When confronted with the story from the Post showing the clip was “deceptively edited,” Scarborough lashed out at Democrats and the media for

Amy Coney Barrett at the University of Notre Dame’s law school commencement ceremony in 2018. Photograph: Robert Franklin/AP. Donald Trump is planning to name Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the supreme court on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

For all the power the right wing is about to hand her, though, Barrett has indeed chosen a self-limiting ideology, and not just because of her views on Roe. Conservative women aren’t interested solely in abolishing abortion, or in limiting the scope of modern gender equality laws. Schlafly was an anti-communist who belonged to the John Birch Society before she ever campaigned against the ERA. Her anti-feminism comprised one strand of a comprehensively dangerous ideology. The women who serve the Trump administration aren’t much different, and neither is Barrett. A Supreme Court justice with right-wing perspectives on labor, the environment, immigration, and criminal justice can harm women from all backgrounds in all aspects of their lives. That is the intention, and not the accidental byproduct, of constitutional originalism. As embraced by jurists like Barrett and her old boss, Antonin Scalia, originalism is its own dogma; the extension of a political theology committed to an older and more exclusionary version of America.

Barrett understands all that. She’s exactly as intelligent as her advocates say, and she’s made all her choices with a sound mind. Her reward is power. If she’s confirmed by the Senate, she’ll be able to finish what Schlafly once started. She could help lock in Trump for another four years. She’ll be able to deal democracy and yes, the feminist movement the blows the Christian right has dreamed of landing for years.

Feminism shouldn’t be any less ruthless. There are several explanations for the right’s out-maneuvering of the women’s movement. One is the preponderance of a choose-your-choice feminism that had more in common with a branding campaign than it did with real politics. But another is the movement’s reliance on a Democratic Party that has only ever been  intermittently committed to the progress of women. Schlafly and her housewives helped remake the GOP. Feminists must do the same to the party of Joe Biden. No compromise on abortion. No compromise on trans rights. No compromise on matters of economic justice, like a living wage and paid leave. If that sounds too risky, remember the stakes, and something else, too. Public opinion is not on the side of the conservative movement. The future is there for feminists, and the left, to win.

Republicans push Barrett confirmation as Democrats criticize timing .
Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday. Overwhelmingly, Republicans called Amy Coney Barrett a well-qualified candidate and pushed for a confirmation in the upcoming weeks. Democrats continued to criticize the timing, with some outright saying they wouldn't meet with the nominee.

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This is interesting!