Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court? A “Home Run” for Fascism and Oppression; an Imminent Threat to Abortion and All Reproductive Rights



Editors’ note as we go to press: In line with the Trump/Pence regime’s full-bore drive towards fascism, the Republi-fascist party is racing to install one of “their people” on the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett (a judge Trump previously appointed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals).

As we wrote before, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced they—the Nazi-Republicans—intend to immediately appoint another Supreme Court Justice within hours of Ginsburg’s death becoming public. The fact that McConnell in 2016 refused to allow the Senate to even consider Barack Obama’s nominee for a court vacancy on the grounds that such nominees should not even be considered during an election year points to the hypocrisy of the fascists, and their relentless drive to cement into place a fascist—Christian fascist—America. Barrett’s appointment will seal into place a Christian fascist majority on the Supreme Court for decades to come, with an increasingly disproportionate role in setting terms and policies for the country as a whole.

From the fascists’ perspective and goals, there is another immediate-term reason for trying to rush through such an appointment. Hours after Ginsburg’s death, Ted Cruz indicated to the New Yorker that the vote and appointment need to happen before Election Day to “insure a solid conservative majority on the Court and avoid the possibility of a tie in the event of a challenge to the election’s result.” Since then Trump and his fascist lackeys have openly and explicitly doubled down on this rationale, with Trump saying the election “will end up in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine Justices,” i.e. stacking the odds for a fascist majority that rules in his favor. This is part of their overall strategy of perverting and stealing the election, ensuring the continuity of the Trump/Pence regime.

The belly-crawling capitulation of top Democrats so far has been remarkable.

Soon after the announcement, Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said, “Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year” (with an implied expectation of a Democratic majority after these elections). For next year!?! The Nazi-Republicans are talking about jamming this appointment through right now, by November 3, and Schumer is talking about next year, i.e. allowing this to go through with no real fight being waged—from procedural blocks at the hands of the Democrats to sitting in and getting arrested on the Senate floor to stop this travesty. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have shut down the government by blocking funding and leveraging that to slow down the confirmation process. But she took that option off the table, declaring it “harmful and shameful.” What can we do, say the feckless Democrats!

As we go to press, led by Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer, the Democrats are seeking to frame whatever lame-ass opposition they do mount on the likelihood that Barrett would overturn Obamacare; they are NOT doing so on the terms of the right of women to abortion, which Barrett is firmly opposed to, or the fact that, as we show below, she believes that her faith should inform judgments, and the “legal career is but a means to an end ... that end is building the kingdom of God.” The latter alone should automatically disqualify her, but the Democrats have announced that they “don’t want to get personal,” i.e., question her beliefs. This is further evidence and manifestation of what Bob Avakian has said about the Democrats:

In sum, the Democrats, being who and what they are, will not and cannot deal with all this—neither the election, nor the larger situation in which this election is taking place and the profound stakes that are actually involved—in any way other than on the terms, and within the limits, established by this system, which has produced this fascism, and to large degree on the terms set by the fascists themselves.

Fascists—the Christian fascists in particular—are practically jumping for joy about the prospect of Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court and are mobilizing support for the fight for her nomination to be approved by the Senate. In conjunction with the official announcement of her nomination, and rallying for the election ahead, Franklin Graham, the Christian fascist leader, led a march of tens of thousands in Washington saying “the country is in trouble” and the people “need to pray for Donald Trump.” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, said, “She is the perfect combination of brilliant jurist and a woman who brings the argument to the court that is potentially the contrary to the views of the sitting women justices.” The Associated Press said Barrett “is hailed by religious conservatives and others on the right as an ideological heir to conservative icon Antonin Scalia.” The New York Times said her appointment would be “viewed as a home run by conservative Christians and anti-abortion activists.”

Why are they so excited?

First, Barrett is a polished, appealing, and intelligent female representative of a religious outlook and political program that aims to subjugate women, as well as LGBTQ people.

In 2015, she signed a letter to a Synod [gathering] of Bishops, pledging “fidelity” to “the Doctrines of the Catholic Church,” including specifically “the value of human life from conception to natural death.” (Emphasis added.) This doctrine means that every fertilized egg is a full human being, and therefore every abortion is “murder.”1 In this view the fertilized egg is a “valued human,” but the woman whose body that egg is part of is not; she no longer even has the right to decide whether or not to bear children.

While Barrett has never explicitly called for overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, she has also refused to say that it shouldn’t be overturned, or to say if she thought that abortion is “always immoral.” And in various judicial decisions or dissents that she has written or signed, she has consistently weighed in on the side of outrageous restrictions on abortion rights. This includes several Indiana laws: one requiring girls under 18 to get parental consenteven if a judge had already granted permission; another that would prevent women from aborting severely or even fatally deformed fetuses; and still another requiring the “burial” of fetal remains after an abortion—yet another way of insisting that fetuses are “babies,” and of guilt-tripping women.

Barrett and her husband also reportedly2 belong to a cult-like religious group, “People of Praise,” that practices speaking in tongues, belief in prophecy and divine healing, and whose members try to live near each other. Committed members take a vow of lifelong dedication to the group. People of Praise “teaches that men have authority over their wives,” opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and, until 2018, assigned a “handmaid” as an “advisor” to each female member.

Second, Barrett leans strongly towards treating the law as subordinate to Christian beliefs.

In a 1998 law journal article, she and her co-author argued that Church prohibitions on abortion and euthanasia are “absolute” because they “take away innocent life.” And they indicated they did not agree with a statement by former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan that in a conflict between his Catholic faith and his duties as a justice, he would be governed by “the oath I took to support the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

In a 2006 commencement address at Notre Dame law school (where she taught), she urged students to “always keep in mind that your legal career is but a means to an end ... that end is building the kingdom of God.... [I]f you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love, and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”

The above quotes point to an outlook that subordinates law and the Constitution to religious belief, which should disqualify her from any position on the judiciary, far less on the highest court of the land.

Third, Barrett holds to the legal theory of “originalism.”

Originalism argues that judges should interpret the Constitution according to its “original meaning” to its authors. Given that when the “Founding Fathers” said “All men are created equal,” they did not mean or intend that this should apply to Black or Native people, to women or to gay people, “originalism” obstructs progressive social change. It can also roll back changes that have already taken place: Barrett has said that adherence to precedent (upholding past court decisions) could be “unlawful” if it conflicts with the Constitution’s “original meaning.” This puts Roe v. Wade in direct jeopardy, since the Constitution’s authors certainly were not thinking about abortion rights! And conceivably rulings like Brown v. Board of Education that barred segregation in schools could also be found to be “unlawful.”

Fourth, Barrett seems to almost always find a way—and a well-crafted legal argument—to come down on the cruel and fascistic side of things.

As put it, “Barrett has either written or joined a remarkable number of opinions that harm unpopular and powerless individuals who rely on the judiciary to safeguard their rights. Faced with two plausible readings of a law, fact, or precedent, Barrett always seems to choose the harsher, stingier interpretation.”

For instance, she supported a Trump regime rule that disadvantaged green card applicants if they had ever used any public benefit. Barrett argued that this was not an “unreasonable” interpretation of existing law and an effort to spare the public of any “burden.” But she ignored the fact that this rule would be a tremendous burden on immigrants, forcing them to choose between giving up on everything from medical care to school lunches for their kids, or run a strong risk of being disqualified for citizenship. And in 2017 she criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote that prevented the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) from being eliminated, which would have deprived about 20 million people of health insurance. (The upcoming session of the Supreme Court will hear another challenge to ACA and most observers think that given the opportunity, Barrett would vote to end it.)


And all this is only scratching the surface. The fascists have good reason to want to see Barrett on the Court—and everybody else has extremely good reason to work to prevent that, most centrally by driving out the Trump/Pence regime as a whole.


1. This letter also upheld the doctrines of “the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women ... and on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman”—i.e., implicit support for the subordinate position of women in society, and explicit opposition to same-sex marriage.  [back]

2. This was reported by the New York Times in 2017. Neither Barrett nor the People of Praise have ever confirmed—or denied—the report. It is generally accepted as true even by her allies.  [back]



Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.