Appeals Court Nominee is Another Trump Anti-women’s Rights Extremist

There can be little doubt any longer that there is an official, administration wide, war on American women in this country and if any American doesn’t believe it the  people are stupider than one originally thought possible.  Republicans have waged a non-stop war on women for decades, but Trump’s election empowered them to take extreme measures against women because a rubber stamp is in the Oval Office. Based on Trump’s selection for a seat on a U.S. District Court of Appeals, there will be another patriarchal rubber stamp on the federal judiciary and this particular anti-women’s rights malcontent believes that there are no rights worth affording over half the population; simply because they are women.

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Trump’s nomination to serve on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for the rest of his misogynistic life. The current justice on the Texas Supreme Court, Don Willett, was in the running as a “potential” Supreme Court justice while Trump was campaigning for a job he is unqualified to hold, so it begins to make sense why he tapped Willet for an Appeals Court appointment he is unqualified to fill.

Willet has not altered his opinions since 2000 when he sent a “memo” demanding that then-Texas governor George W. Bush refrain from praising the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women because they supported equal rights for women. Bush does have two daughters, a wife, and a mother and no doubt he considered their plight in a decidedly patriarchal society and had a semblance of appreciation for a Texas Business group advocating for women’s rights.

The letter Willet wrote to his boss, the Texas governor, was about a litany of policies he vehemently opposed; basically  anything remotely related to women’s equal rights. It was former head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and current head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Vanita Gupta, who sent the “memo” in a letter to the Senate prior to Willet’s confirmation hearing to alert them to Willet’s extremist position on women’s rights..

In his “memo” to Bush, Willet not only questioned the need for any laws protecting women from all manner of discrimination, he mocked the policy positions of the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women. It is noteworthy that then Governor Bush was only going to make an “official proclamation” praising the business group’s advocacy for women in business; still, it was too much for Willet to take. He wrote:

They support the ERA, affirmative action, abortion rights, legislation adding teeth to the Equal Pay Act, etc. and they regularly line up with the AFL-CIO and similar groups. I resist the proclamation’s talk of ‘glass ceilings,’ pay equity (an allegation that some studies debunk), the need to place kids in the care of rented strangers, sexual discrimination and harassment, and the need generally for better ‘working conditions’ for women. I strongly resist anything that shows we believe the hype.”

Willet didn’t elucidate exactly what “hype” he or other Republicans don’t believe, but it appears that anything giving women the equality the U.S. Constitution guarantees all American citizens is an atrocity in his mind. Equal pay, not happening. The right to self-determination in reproductive health choices, definitely not acceptable. Placing children in day care while women work, for lower pay, also not acceptable. And the idea of better working conditions, such as protection from gender discrimination and sexual harassment cannot be allowed to take place.

No doubt Willet and his supporters will claim those were his deeply-held religious beliefs two decades ago and he’s a changed patriarchal conservative. That would be bullshit. Republicans still oppose equal pay, equal rights, protection from sexual harassment and reproductive freedom and Willet is, if nothing else, a dyed-in-the-wool patriarchal Republican. And, just two years ago he praised a 1905 case banning labor from suing employers for discrimination and minimum wage violations. He is anti-labor as well as an enemy of women and their Constitutional rights; it is precisely why Trump tapped him to sit on a federal appeals court for the rest of his life.

This latest assault on women by the Trump administration is more than a trend; it is an ongoing and concerted government-wide agenda that shows no sign of letting up. Putting an avowed anti-woman’s rights sycophant on a federal Appeals Court for life virtually guarantees women far into the future will have to contend with patriarchs who oppose equality for women – probably because it is a biblical construct. Now it is safe to assert it is the official policy of the Trump administration that no small number of white women helped elect because they wanted the country to go in a different direction and revert to a different era.

 

 

Trump Appellate Nominee Says Religion Supersedes Constitution

Anyone serving in the U.S. Government has to abide by the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land, but that is not the ardent belief of Trump’s nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The idea that the Constitution is secondary to a judge’s religious belief has been a growing threat for at least a couple of decades or so, but now that threat is becoming reality as America lurches toward an evangelical theocracy. For far too long politicians have looked the other way as theocracy-minded evangelicals have infected the government hoping to spread their evangelical beliefs like an incurable cancer.

At least now some members of the Senate realize the danger of a religious fanatic serving as an appeals court judge, but it is likely far too little to stop a serious threat to the rule of law by a Trump nominee who said judges have a duty to put their faith above the Constitution.

Amy Coney Barrett is a practicing conservative Catholic, and is an extraordinarily enthusiastic opponent of a woman’s right to choose. She has written extensively on the Catholic Church’s need to dismantle a long-standing legal medical procedure, Roe v. Wade. Barrett also does not subscribe to the idea of adhering to long-established legal precedents if they conflict with her religious belief that some laws, or Supreme Court rulings “were gross mistakes” because they are not founded on the Christian religion.

Barrett is a law professor at the Catholic Notre Dame University and except for serving as a “law clerk” for dead SCOTUS justice Antonin Scalia and appellate Judge Laurence H. Silberman, she has not served as a judge: and she damn well never should for one very good reason.

According to a recent report from the Alliance for Justice (AFJ):

As a judge, Barrett could be expected to put her personal beliefs ahead of the law. She wrote specifically about the duty of judges to put their faith above the law in an article entitled “Catholic Judges in Capital Cases.” Among other things, she strongly criticized Justice William Brennan’s statement about faith, in which he said that he took an oath to uphold the law, and that “there isn’t any obligation of our faith superior” to that oath. In response, Barrett wrote: “We do not defend this position as the proper response for a Catholic judge to take with respect to abortion or the death penalty.” (author bold)

If that is Barrett’s position, and she has written extensively that it is what she believes,  it automatically disqualifies her for any position in America’s judicial system. No judge, federal or otherwise, can blatantly disregard the only basis for law in the United States, the U.S. Constitution. Barrett claims the law of the land is secondary to a judge’s religious belief.

And, regarding Barrett’s nomination to a life-long position on a federal Circuit Court of Appeals, AFJ’s president Nan Aron said In a statement:

Amy Coney Barrett is a judicial nominee the likes of which we have rarely seen: a person who believes and has stated that judges can and should put their personal beliefs ahead of the law and Constitution when carrying out their duties. Specifically, Barrett has written that judges should put their religious faith ahead of the law in certain cases. She also has written that judges should not have to abide by precedent if they disagree with how past cases were decided. These views are so contrary to our system of democracy and justice that, in our view, they clearly disqualify her for the federal bench.

That AJF report elicited concerns in the Senate leading Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to ask about her “questionable record” while quoting directly from the AJF report. But Barrett, a self-admitted “conservative Catholic” did what is becoming natural for so-called “conservative Christian” adherents;  she violated her Christian bible’s Ninth Commandment and lied by denying the AJF’s accusations. She responded to Senator Hatch saying:

That is not true. I totally reject and have rejected throughout my entire career the proposition that the end justifies the means or that a judge should decide cases based on a desire to reach a certain outcome.

Barrett’s assertion was quickly called what it was, a dirty lie, by the legal director for Alliance for Justice, Daniel Goldberg who asserted that Barrett’s testimony is “a point-blank lie.” He said:

Look at our report. It quotes Coney Barrett directly.”

California Senator Dianne Feinstein joined Senator Hatch in expressing her deep suspicions about Barrett’s religious extremism. She noted:

When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

Minnesota Senator Al Franken actually did the right thing and questioned Barrett’s “fitness to serve” when she claims a judge’s religious beliefs trump the U.S. Constitution. He also rightly chastised “the conservative Catholic’s close ties and communication with the anti-gay Christian hate group Alliance Defending Freedom.”

It isn’t immediately clear who in the Trump administration directed Trump to nominate Barrett as an Appellate Court judge, but it was almost certainly either Mike “preacher” Pence or Jeff ‘bible” Sessions. It may have even been the Christian hate group Alliance Defending Freedom; they all believe the Christian bible supersedes the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land. There is no doubt that the idea of a conservative Catholic panting to overturn Roe on the federal bench almost certainly gave them a 19-year-old’s ‘boner.’

Barrett has no right serving in any capacity as a judge. And no, her religion is not the issue; nobody has any shit to give about what Psalms she sings, how she worships, who she prays to, or what Christian denomination she subscribes. However, every American alive should shudder that Trump is nominating Christian extremists who fervently believe that judges have “a duty to put their faith above the law of the land” because it is a direct line to an oppressive theocracy; exactly what whoever nominated an extremist like Barrett intended.

Image: Patheos