Amy Coney Barrett will almost certainly replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few days. “We have the votes," GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the imminent confirmation vote [Judiciary Committee sets vote on Barrett's nomination for next week, by Jordan Cairney, The Hill, October 15, 2020]. Of course, Conservatism Inc.’s chattering class thinks Barrett will champion their causes. But the Dissident Right has less reason for enthusiasm. Granted, her record on immigration is fairly good and raises few eyebrows. But what lifts more than a few eyebrows is the substantial influence on her thinking she attributes to her adopted Haitian children. That could affect myriad decisions: not only on immigration, of course, but also on criminal justice relative to the “systemic racism” hoax, and free speech/Big Tech Censorship relative to “racism” and “Hate Speech.” Worst case scenario: Barrett might turn out to be an element in the further dispossession of the Historic American Nation.
On the positive side: the 48-year-old was solid on immigration when she sat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Most legal analysts say she will uphold Trump’s immigration priorities and will follow legal precedent. “She seems to have the more traditional perspective about judicial review in immigration cases, which is that review ought to be limited," said law professor Angela Banks [Amy Coney Barrett likely would uphold Trump immigration policies, analysts say, by Daniel Gonzalez, Arizona Republic, October 5, 2020].
“Judge Barrett leaves policy questions where they belong: with the political branches,” Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies writes. “[I]f conservatives, or those who favor a more restrictive immigration regime, believe that she would use her position as a Supreme Court justice to advance specific immigration policies, they will likely be disappointed—unless those policies are grounded in statute and precedent.” Liberals who think Barrett will read open borders into the Constitution will be disappointed, too [Those Favoring Judicial Activism on Immigration Will Likely Be Disappointed With a Justice Barrett, Center for Immigration Studies, October 5, 2020].
Three cases in which Barrett sided with the Trump administration put Barrett in a favorable light. She ruled against aliens who filed dubious asylum claims and against foreigners who try to smuggle their children into the country, Arthur observed. In an outstanding dissent, she affirmed the legality of the Trump administration’s public-charge rule that would bar permanent residency to immigrants on welfare.
The one case where she ruled against Trump involved immigration judges. Trump’s Justice Department limited judges from halting deportation cases through “administrative closure.” Barrett authored the opinion overturning that policy. “Immigration judges have broad authority to administratively close cases where 'appropriate and necessary for disposition' of cases,” she wrote.
So, though it wasn’t exactly a major blow to Trump’s immigration agenda, she is not a 100-percenter on Trump’s immigration priorities. But three of four ain’t bad.
The only time Barrett neared voicing an opinion on immigration in the hearings: answering Sen. Cory Booker’s question about “family separation” at the border, an Obama-era policy.
Is it “wrong to separate children from their parents to deter immigrants from coming to the U.S.?” the “fiercely heterosexual” Booker asked.
That’s been a matter of policy debate and obviously that’s a matter of hot political debate in which I can’t express a view or be drawn into as a judge.
That’s reasonable, and likely much better than what other jurists would say [Amy Coney Barrett Declines To Comment On Separation Of Children At The U.S. Border, by Matt Perez. Forbes, October 14, 2020].
Happily, she didn’t say the question was “above my pay grade.”
Compared to Trump’s other SCOTUS picks, Barrett’s record looks better than that of Neil Gorsuch, but not quite as good as Brett Kavanaugh’s.
On the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch sided with immigrants against the government. As a justice, he authored the majority opinion striking down a government provision making it easier to deport criminal aliens. Gorsuch cucked, perhaps because of his immigrant wife. He said her immigrant background colors his opinion. (She is British.) [U.S. Justice Gorsuch sees value of immigration through wife's eyes, by Lawrence Hurley, Reuters, September 19, 2019].
Thankfully, Kavanaugh is different. As a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, he defended American workers from foreign competition, argued against the inclusion of illegal aliens in union elections, and nearly always took the U.S. government’s side against immigrants. “[M]ere economic expediency does not authorize an employer to displace American workers for foreign workers,” he wrote in one dissent. He took that immigration-patriot stance to the high court.
Barrett’s record alone yields little to complain about. But a judge, as Gorsuch explained, is more than his record. Just as Gorsuch’s immigrant wife apparently informs his decisions, so Barrett’s two Haitian adopted kids might inform hers.
Though she insisted that her multiracial family doesn’t “dictate how I decide cases,” her answer about George Floyd suggests otherwise [GOP senator praises Barrett's 'unique' experience of having Black children, by Oliver Wills, The American Independent, October 13, 2020].
When Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Barrett what she thought of Floyd’s death, she replied at length:
I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family. Jesse was with the boys on a camping trip out in South Dakota, so I was there and my 17-year-old daughter, Vivian, who’s adopted from Haiti, all of this was erupting. It was very difficult for her. We wept together in my room and then it was also difficult for my daughter, Juliette, who’s 10. I had to try to explain some of this to them. I mean, my children to this point in their lives, have had the benefit of growing up in a cocoon where they have not yet experienced hatred or violence. And for Vivian to understand that there would be a risk to her brother or the son she might have one day of that kind of brutality has been an ongoing conversation.
[Amy Coney Barrett Senate Confirmation Hearing Day 2 Transcript, Rev.com, October 13, 2020]
She also seemed to endorse the existence of “systemic racism” in response to another Durbin question. “I think it is an entirely uncontroversial and obvious statement, given as we just talked about the George Floyd video, that racism persists in our country,” she said.
Then again, she said, it’s not her responsibility as a judge to make “broader diagnoses about the problem of racism.”
Maybe, but it is her responsibility to correctly evaluate evidence. George Floyd did not die of “racism.” He wasn’t “murdered.” George Floyd died, the autopsy showed, because he was high on fentanyl, a narcotic and respiratory depressant 50 times more powerful than heroin. That’s why Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe before cop Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground.
In short, she and her kids had no reason to cry. How will she rule if that case or one similar lands in her lap?
As VDARE.com’s Lance Welton argued, Barrett’s transracial adoption suggests she is unaware of race realism, as most cookie-cutter Conservatives are, and she’s extremely altruistic—two traits not ideal for immigration patriotism. If a career criminal’s overdose causes her to weep with her black children, it’s safe to say those children will affect her decisions. Barrett won’t, after all, want to make them cry more.
A court battle over temporary protected status for Haitians, for instance, will end up in the Supreme Court. How will Barrett rule? How will she rule on any similar immigration case that tugs at her heartstrings? What of Big Tech censorship vs. free speech involving charges of “racism”? Will she stand up for the law, or will she fret about her kids’ feelings and make new law?
Another ill omen: Barrett’s apology to the “LGBTQ community” for using the phrase sexual “preference,” which is now offensive. The word these days is “orientation” [Barrett says she didn't mean to offend LGBTQ community with term ‘sexual preference,’ by Justine Coleman, The Hill, October 14, 2020].
The most generous explanation for that hasty retreat is Barrett’s wanting to get through the hearings largely unscathed. She knows stupid. Then again, it could be a sign she’ll cuck on the court.
Last, consider her membership in People of Praise, a charismatic, ecumenical Christian group that more resembles evangelicalism than traditional Catholicism. It is an emotional faith that stresses a personal God who routinely startles devotees into new ways of thinking.
“What makes Barrett unpredictable is the possibility that she will interpret God as speaking in ways that she, and the broader conservative world, might not have anticipated,” writes Stanford University anthropologist T.R. Luhrmann. “She has a radical streak and an intensely personal God, and we should expect some surprises from her.”
Luhrmann believes the faith will inspire her to make liberal decisions [Why Amy Coney Barrett Might Surprise Everyone, T.M. Luhrmann, The Atlantic, October 13, 2020].
Of course, if God startles Barrett into a decision Atlantic Leftists like, that will be fine. If she rules, say, to overturn Roe v. Wade, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Leftists only like religion in the public square when it serves liberal ends.
That said, Barrett is, again, a devout Catholic and a committed originalist—she clerked for the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Her record is indeed conservative.
It’s just that her clear statement that her black children profoundly affect her thinking can’t be ignored.
Or will she side with the “New American Majority”—embodied by her adopted kids and consumed with the fear of “systemic racism?”
The conservative Catholic ACB is not, of course, the Leftist Jewish RBG. Indeed, she’s quite nearly the opposite. That alone provides hope.
How much hope is the question.
Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.