DAILY KOS’s Joan Mc Carter gives an excellent rundown on trump’s two dumpster candidates (Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa) for SCOTUS to replace Justice Ruth Ginsburg. Putting their names in the same sentence as Justice Ruth Ginsburg’s should not diminish her but it does not preclude how low Repubs will stoop to achieve their goals as their power continues to diminish. Trump’s Supreme Court short list includes member of the sect that inspired the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’. The author takes care to assign a name to each detailing their character.
Amy Coney Barrett, “representing The Handmaid’s Tale as societal model wing”
She belong to an extreme, charismatic wing of the Catholic Church called People of Praise, which actually did serve as the inspiration for Margaret Atwood in her dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. The book was published in 1985 after Atwood “delayed writing it for about three years after I got the idea because I felt it was too crazy,” she told The New York Times Book Review in 1986. “Then two things happened. I started noticing that a lot of the things I thought I was more or less making up were now happening, and indeed more of them have happened since the publication of the book.” Specifically: “There is a sect now, a Catholic charismatic spinoff sect, which calls the women handmaids. They don’t go in for polygamy of this kind but they do threaten the handmaids according to the biblical verse I use in the book—sit down and shut up.” Yeah, that’s Barrett’s church. Except they’ve dropped the “head” moniker for male leadership and “handmaids” title for women who keep their fellow women in line because the television series based on the novel forced a change. They are now all called “leaders,” who direct such intimate life decisions of members as who they marry, where they live, and how they raise their children.
Barrett: a “legal career is but a means to an end and to that end, is building the Kingdom of God.” She’s also written that judges shouldn’t necessarily be held to upholding Supreme Court precedents like Roe v. Wade, which she almost certainly would vote to restrict out of existence. Barrett’s religion came up briefly in her confirmation hearing for her current position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein mentioned: “The dogma lives loudly within you,” and the entire Republican world erupted, accusing Feinstein of trying to impose an unconstitutional “religious test” on nominees. The issue pretty much ended there. It can’t end there in hearings should Trump nominate Barrett. That is, if McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham don’t just decide to forego hearings and send her straight to the floor. At this point, McConnell could probably get 51 Republican senators to do anything for Trump.
Barrett’s hall mark decision is to deter colleges and universities from vigorously investigating sexual assault allegations by making it easier for students accused of assault to challenge the handling of their cases. Barrett based her decision on reverse gender discrimination, writing in a case against Purdue University: “It is plausible university officials chose to believe Jane because she is a woman and to disbelieve John because he is a man,” turning what might have been a more straightforward due process issue into a gender bias question. So that’s Barrett.
One indication of Barrett’s skew is her response in an article Catholic Judges in Capital Cases After her graduation from Notre Dame, “she explored the effect of the Catholic Church’s teachings on the death penalty on federal judges, and it used the church’s teachings on abortion and euthanasia as a comparison point, describing the prohibitions on abortion and euthanasia as “absolute” because they “take away innocent life.” The article also noted that, when the late Justice William Brennan was asked about potential conflict between his Catholic faith and his duties as a justice, he responded that he would be governed by “the oath I took to support the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Barrett and Garvey observed that they did not “defend this position as the proper response for a Catholic judge to take with respect to abortion or the death penalty.”
Barbara Lagoa, “the quid pro quo choice.”
Rocketing onto the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals courtesy of McConnell’s judicial juggernaut, she is a 52-year-old daughter of Cuban exiles who was born in Miami, Florida. Not only has Trump talked about the great political advantage he could get in Florida with a Supreme Court pick, that is only the beginning quid pro quo. Lagoa is right now considering Trump campaign chief Jason Miller’s $100 million libel lawsuit against Gizmodo. The suit stems from a 2018 report on the now-defunct website Splinter that Miller slipped an abortion pill into a smoothie he gave to a woman he had gotten pregnant. The allegations arose in a custody dispute brought by Trump staffer A.G. Delgado who had a child by Miller. Gizmodo is Splinter’s parent company. A district court judge in Miami threw the suit out a year ago. Miller appealed and now Judge Lagoa is considering it. This leaves one to wonder if she were really worthy of a Supreme Court seat? If so, she should either recuse herself from Miller’s case or she would remove herself from consideration for SCOTUS. Not surprisingly, neither has happened as of yet.
Former Trump Justice official and a member of the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission said of her, “She is a Cuban woman from Miami, and Florida is the most important state in the election. ” Appointing Judge Lagoa to SCOTUS might be just enough to swing the state into the Repub column with certainty. Hence the importance of her appointment.
Previous cases? For quid pro quo, it does not stop with just the Miller case.
Sixty-five percent of Floridians passed Amendment 4 which repealed a Jim Crow–era constitutional provision that permanently disenfranchised individuals convicted of a felony. The amendment could have restored the franchise to as many as 1.5 million people. In response to Amendment 4, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 7066 (“SB 7066”), which redefined “all terms of sentence” to include the payment of restitution, fines, and fees (also known as “legal financial obligations” or “LFOs”). This followed the normal course through state courts and went to a US District Court where it was struck down. Moving to the 11th District Court of Appeals and in En Blanc session, the COA rejected the US District Courtdecision. Judge Lagoa sat in on and she voted with the majority in a 6-4 decision to overturn the trial judge’s ruling. .
Judge Lagoa had given Trump a “yuge” gift in the recent concurrence of the decision to impose a poll tax on former felons in Florida, preventing as many as 85,000 eligible voters from casting ballots. She has been criticized by Senate Democrats for not recusing herself from the case, a failure which “appears to violate the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.” Given her role last year in an advisory opinion handed down by the Florida Supreme Court in which she participated, one would expect such recusal to be normal. Indeed, Barbara Lagoa (and Robert Luck) took part in oral arguments while serving on the Florida Supreme Court in a case questioning the scope of Amendment 4. Both judges expressed strong opinions about the law during those arguments and should have recused themselves from Jones going forward to forestall questions about impartiality. If they did so, the court would have been evenly divided between Democratic and GOP appointees.
Barrett is a favorite of anti-abortion rights advocates who have been heavily lobbying the White House and Trump personally to nominate her. She is also preferred by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to people close to him. That is it then, McConnell wills it and the choice is in!
McCarter concludes neither is worthy of Justice Ginsburg seat, “Barrett by virtue of her lived rejection of the establishment clause and Lagoa over a proven disregard for ethics.” Both candidates are sponsored by Catholic Fundamentalist Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society who has had his hand in selecting others such as Alito, Roberts, and Gorsuch. Any pronouncement of no influence by the Church or the Federalist Society should be taken as akin to a grain of salt in credibility.
Trump’s Supreme Court short list includes member of the sect that inspired the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’, DAILY KOS, Joan McCarter. September 21, 2020
Florida Can’t Bar Ex-Felons From Voting Just Because They’re Poor, Appeals Court Rules, Slate, February 20, 2020
Profile of a potential nominee: Amy Coney Barrett, SCOTUS Blog, Amy Howe, September 21, 2020