In defense of ignoring Amy Coney Barrett

This past week, I joined the vast, cranky ranks of the quarantined. I had some Covid-like boggy lung symptoms and spent four days holed up in my bedroom, waiting for my test results. Happily, they came back negative, and I was allowed to crawl out of my cave.

I felt like I passed another test, too: I resisted listening to the Amy Coney Barrett hearings. If you don’t know me, you don’t know how weird that is. I am an intensely political person (that was me at age 14, standing in the slush on a busy street corner, waving a homemade Jack Kemp sign). Even when I do not have a huge, open swath of quarantine time to devote to politics and the news, I love to gorge on current events.

If you knew me, you’d expect me to be all in with the hearings, in particular. How Amy Coney Barrett is received is especially relevant to me as a working, feminist, Catholic mother with a large family. Like Ms. Barrett, I have had “vagina clown car” insults thrown at me by people who profess to believe in reproductive choice. Strangers who know nothing about me have declared I must be either neglecting my kids or shorting my job because no one could possibly be both a good mother and a good worker. I have been informed that, because of my Catholic faith, I want all women to be the legal property of their husbands and the state. Like Ms. Barrett, I have been mercilessly dragged for my clothing choice, even when no sane person could find fault with it. The woman even gets dinged for her crazy eyes, and I, too, have crazy eyes.

But I am not unreservedly on team Amy Coney Barrett. I was dismayed when she and her maskless family starred in what turned out to be a superspreader event. I am someone whose life has been transformed by the Affordable Care Act and who desperately needs it not to be deemed unconstitutional. And I have become increasingly alarmed at the spectacle of white adoptive families using their Black children as a shield against accusations of racism. Ms. Barrett herself has not done this, as far as I know, but she does seem to speak freely in public about her Black children’s trauma. And there is that photo where her white family is front and center, and her Black children are arranged as bookends.

And there it is. There is one of the reasons I have not been following the hearings… Read the rest of my latest for America Magazine.

Image via Pxfuel

Liked it? Take a second to support simchajfisher on Patreon!

15 thoughts on “In defense of ignoring Amy Coney Barrett”

  1. Maskless family? Both the WHO and the CDC now admit that masks actually make you more susceptible to getting the virus, and that the death rates all over the world are no more than a common flu. The pandemic is a hoax . But you wouldn’t be willing or even able to accept this because you’d be kicked out of your post overseeing your little righteous progressive fake Catholic Pharisee tribe.

    1. The CDC has said no such thing:

      Neither has the WHO:

      As someone who works at a hospital and has treated COVID-19 patients, I can assure you that it is neither a hoax nor “no more than the common flu.” If you’d like to read more, the Journal of the American Medical Association: and the New England Journal of Medicine: are both good places to start, and all their COVID-19 content is free.

      1. Yes of course you’re ignoring the 2020 Studies. But nothing would make you see that this pandemic is a hoax. If you wanted the truth you would see it. Repent.

  2. I’m not going to lie. I have done a double take over a few of the choices ACB has made as an interracial adoptive parent. But the family photo bookends thing, I have to give a complete pass. If you’ve ever tried doing a formal photo shoot with a bunch of pasty faced White people and a few Black people, you’d know the challenge of making everyone simultaneously look good. All the usual family photo advice is a no-go. You’re trying to avoid clothes colors and people positioning where a quick glance shows an image with floating heads or sickly looking ghosts. That Easter shot(?) was an amazing family photo and I’m actually quite envious of it.

    1. I should add to my above statement. I don’t think it’s controversial to say the woman is brilliant, and that being the case I should probably just assume she knows what’s best for the people she loves. Although some of her actions and statements as an adoptive parent wouldn’t have been mine, they may fit very well with her kids’ personalities and her family’s ethos.

  3. Thank you for writing this. This has been my general approach as of 2019-onward. I can’t tell truth from lie with the news, can’t affect the national outcomes by getting upset, and can only do what I can do for the people I come into contact with every day. It’s a fine balance, but I’ve learned to filter articles by who is speaking calmly and rationally and who is just spewing ad-hominem hysteria. Unfortunately there’s more hysteria than rationality these days and finding those rare gems of actual reporting makes me feel like a chicken scratching for worms.

    Thanks for articulating what I have been feeling/experiencing these past few years.

  4. I caught some lengthy segments and was so impressed by her knowledge, poise, firmness and yet respect for all those questioning her. I love that she brings a different background to the court. Hearing her responses gave me confidence in her character and perspective.

    1. It is difficult to think she is a woman of integrity when she chooses to participate in this extremely problematic nomination. Her views on climate change and wearing masks cause me to doubt her perspective in many matters.

      1. Emily, in all charity, it is still our nation and some one has to run it. I think it takes enormous fortitude and bravery to be open about one’s faith in public office. She displays her integrity by living her faith to the best of her ability in the public eye. She may not be perfect, but God doesn’t call the perfect to serve. He calls us to serve in our imperfections. If no one of faith is willing to participate in our government, we are left with the corrupt and power hungry whose will is to dominate and not to serve.

        If you’re not called to serve in this way, that is your calling. It seems Mrs. Barrett has had this calling, has been equipped with gifts for it from God and is doing her best to invest her talents for the good of our nation. I see a woman of faith living her faith to the best of her ability and using her gifts from God for the greatest possible good.

        Perhaps it’s best we look to the gifts God has equipped us with and tend to our own patch of the Garden. Her calling is not your calling and I find it offensive that you imply that someone who would desire the best for her nation and see her calling to serve it should be labeled a woman of dubious integrity for doing it.

        We have a problematic nation because we have forgotten our duty to serve our neighbors. What are you doing to serve your community? What are you doing to reach out and strengthen those around you? What are you doing to improve your patch of the Garden and making this country less problematic for those who follow? It is a lack of courage and fortitude to throw up our hands and do nothing for our nation because it is “problematic” and seems hopeless. If there’s problems, God has put us here to be the solution.

        I pray you are able to reach out and see what solutions God has uniquely equipped you to provide.

      2. Emily I agree with you. It’s a power hungry move on her part to ignore how this nomination came about and the suffering and possible death that unfolded from the nominating event in the Rose Garden. Nothing there reflects Christian humility or prudence. I wish she would take herself out of the running. The ground has been poisoned. I doubt the goodness of the fruit.

      3. She didn’t express any views on climate change, since it’s a hot button political issue that she may have to rule on. Also, her children and siblings were all wearing masks during the hearings.

        I do understand the hesitation about approving her accepting the nomination, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Would we condemn a man for going for the object of his professional career, even if the president nominating him is truly awful? I’m not sure. As she said, she is certainly not the only person who could serve,
        but she was the one asked, and she has a strong love for the rule of law and equal justice for all in serving our country.

        This is not to say that I agree with all her judicial opinions! I don’t, and I’m sure I will disagree with more in the future. But I think she proved she is capable, she is not self-serving, and she will not legislate from the bench.

        1. I wanted to add that I completely agree about the terrible way the Republicans pushed this nomination ahead. If they had a shred of integrity or the least bit of shame of hypocrisy, they wouldn’t have done anything before the election.

          Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law and a clerk on the Supreme Court at the same time as ACB (not for Scalia but for Breyer I believe), wrote a great piece in Bloomberg about this very issue, and yet he still thinks the Senate should confirm her nomination. He wrote that he disagreed with her philosophically and on many, many political issues, that he thought this whole process absolutely should not proceed right now — but also that she should be confirmed. His respect for her, as a colleague he worked closely with but on the opposite end of the political and jurisprudential spectrum, spoke volumes about her character and capabilities as a judge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *