On Judge Barrett

As one Catholic woman to another, I send my best wishes to Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the U.S. Senate votes on her nomination to the Supreme Court.

I don’t know how she’d vote on a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and neither do you. Even so, I think every objection to her nomination comes down to one thing: the possibility that she might have even the teensiest reservation about abortion. Any objections to her faith I’ve encountered are all about that. It’s not that she’s Catholic; it’s that she might take Catholic teaching on the nature of abortion and conscience rights seriously.

That’s “might.” One may hope.

Note that in a buffer zone case in 2016, she voted with the majority to uphold a buffer zone law in Chicago that employed a “bubble zone.” That decision also pointed out that in light of SCOTUS’s McCullen decision, the Chicago case would be vulnerable on further appeal.

I believe it’s pure theater to say that she poses a threat to everyone’s health insurance, by means of a pending court challenge to the “Affordable Care Act,” better known as Obamacare.

Yes, theater. The ACA has no severability clause, thanks to the Senators (including one of my New Hampshire Senators, Jeanne Shaheen) who voted to pass it without one. If SCOTUS throws out the law because no single part of it can be separated from the rest, they’ll be following the path laid out for them by the House, Senate, and former president Obama in 2010. (But see this commentary from ScotusBlog outlining less extreme possibilities.)

I’ve asked my Senators to vote to confirm Judge Barrett, even though they have both declared their firm opposition to her, or perhaps only to her nomination. It’s hard to tell if they can distinguish the woman from the man who nominated her.

Will the result of this nomination be judicial recognition of the dignity and worth of each human being without exception? I have no idea. As I said, one may hope.