Tag Archives: supermom Amy Coney Barrett on family separation

supermom Amy Coney Barrett on family separation


Since Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court, Republicans have suggested that one of the reasons she should be given a lifetime appointment on the highest court of the land is that she has seven kids. Barrett is “a remarkable mother” with “seven beautiful children,” Senator Thom Tillis said during the first day of her confirmation hearing [October 12, 2020]. She’s a “tireless mother of seven,” Senator Chuck Grassley told the room. “She and her husband have seven children,” Senator Lindsey Graham said in his opening remarks, in case anyone hadn’t heard, before giving her two more. “She and her husband have seven children. Two adopted. Nine seems to be a good number,” he said. Obviously, constantly bringing up this part of Barrett’s biography is part of an attempt on Republicans’ part to (1) draw a distinction between Barrett and what they view as childless heathen Democrats, (2) claim that any opposition to her confirmation is anti-mom, and (3) suggest that since she’s a mother, she must be a good person who couldn’t possibly issue rulings that would hurt millions of people.

But, surprise! Despite being a mother, Barrett is expected to help overturn the Affordable Care Act. … She will also very likely go after Roe v. Wade, if given the chance. … And even though she’s a mom of seven children, she apparently thinks the jury is still out on whether or not it’s bad to separate small children from their parents, if they happen to be from another country:

In one of the only discussions of immigration to arise during the confirmation hearings, Barrett declined to say whether she thought it was wrong to separate migrant children from their parents to deter immigration to the United States. “That’s a matter of hot political debate in which I can’t express a view or be drawn into as a judge,” Barrett said in response to a question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Booker said he respected her position but asked again: “Do you think it’s wrong to separate a child from their parent, not for the safety of the child or parent but to send a message. As a human being, do you believe that that’s wrong?”

Barrett told Booker she felt as if he was trying to engage her on the Trump administration’s border separation policy. Under the policy, immigration officials applied a “zero-tolerance” approach to undocumented immigration and separated families crossing the border through Mexico. “I can’t express a view on that,” Barrett said. “I’m not expressing assent or dissent with the morality of that position—I just can’t be drawn into a debate about the administration’s immigration policy.”

Booker responded that, actually, he was simply asking “basic questions of human rights, human decency, and human dignity,” which one might think a staunchly pro-life individual and mother of seven might be able to answer.

— “Amy Coney Barrett, Mother of Seven, Not Sure If Separating Migrant Children From Their Parents Is Bad: The Supreme Court nominee curiously refused to give an answer on this one.” by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, October 14, 2020


At her confirmation hearing on October 14, Senator Richard Blumenthal asked Barrett whether Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia were correctly decided. Barrett did not hesitate to reply yes. So Blumenthal pressed her on why she will not say the same about Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark decision of the Supreme Court on the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives.



What we have here is the usual coldhearted, calculated cunning.

The doctrine of “separate but equal” was court precedent, set by the court’s ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. But everyone now agrees that it is wrong. Yes, it was overruled (meaning that it was once the law). But no one questions now that it is and was morally wrong.

So, Barrett can make statements (judgments) about some court opinions and some doctrines, but not others? She can’t express a personal view on human grounds –as a human being, as a parent herself — on the morality of separating parents from children? I don’t care in what setting she is being asked to express views. She can’t see that it is wrong and flat out say it, regardless of how she has been coached? Would she not be prepared to say, without hesitation, that segregation and discrimination are wrong?

Barrett said “I’m not expressing assent or dissent with the morality of that position.” In other words, she can see in the abstract that such separations might be okay — or, to put it another way — that there is nothing a priori wrong with separating immigrant children from parents?

That’s deplorable.

Judges take upon the themselves the mantle of objectivity and impartiality. It’s as if they are supposed to be a tabula rasa.

Of course, this is not true of anyone’s psyche and does not accord with actual humanity.

This is creepy. Can’t one ascribe to being high minded, fair, impartial, “above the fray” without having to give up all “pretense” of being human, which is to say, normal — someone with certain feelings shared by normal people? Of having some basic notions of right and wrong that are “extra-juridical, in one’s heart and soul, that attest to certain values that make one precisely human and that reassure us that this is so. Are we hiring scrubbed and whitewashed minds for the court, who must leave their humanity at the door?


posted by Roger W. Smith

   November 2020