The Democrats have been flailing away for three days now, and they haven’t laid a glove on Amy Coney Barrett.
This was not the way that their hi-tech gauntlet was supposed to work.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and company knew going in that they didn’t have the votes to stop Judge Barrett. But they were determined to at least subject her to the same kind of ritual humiliation that every other conservative candidate for the Supreme Court has had to endure since the days of Robert Bork over 30 years ago.
They peppered Judge Barrett with questions on sex, babies, guns, health care, climate change—on anything, really. They tried to bait her into offering an opinion on precedents and hypotheticals. Clearly, they hoped that she would stumble into one of their traps or lose her composure. This would create an opening for them to criticize her “deeply held beliefs” or complain about her “lack of judicial temperament.”
They should have known better. Judge Barrett is one of the most qualified judges ever to come before the court. As President Donald Trump himself said, “She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.”
How else would you describe an appeals court judge who graduated first (pdf) in her class from Notre Dame Law School, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and was rated “well qualified” by the American Bar Association during her 2017 confirmation for the Seventh Circuit?
Not to mention that every living Supreme Court clerk who worked with Judge Barrett in 1998 (pdf)—including three who clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—wrote in support of her nomination, as did every single full-time faculty member (pdf) at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught since 2002.
Academic faculties are normally riven by petty feuds; to get unanimity on anything—or anyone—is nothing short of miraculous.
Aside from Judge Barrett’s obvious judicial qualifications, there’s this: She’s the mother of seven children, including two adopted children from Haiti and one child with special needs. As I know from personal experience—my wife and I have nine children—the mothers of large families are not easily rattled.
Is anyone surprised that Judge Barrett has run the hi-tech gauntlet set up by the Democrats with poise and grace? I’m not.
But while they haven’t laid a glove on her, they’ve certainly managed to embarrass themselves. Rather badly, I would say.
Take Mazie Hirono, for example. The senator from Hawaii pretty much asked Barrett, a woman of obvious faith and character, if she had ever raped anyone. Then asked her a second time.
But is this really any less wacko than the half-dozen Democratic senators who came to the hearing with billboards depicting people with preexisting conditions, and then took turns making statements implying that all those depicted were going to die if Judge Barrett became Justice Barrett.
Now, the only thing the Supreme Court has to do with Obamacare is to decide whether or not it’s constitutional, as they all surely know. But the point of their little choreographed psychodrama lay elsewhere: They wanted to use the opportunity provided by the hearing to scare people into thinking they were about to lose their health care.
As for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), she hijacked the hearing in another way. She used it to advance her candidacy for vice president of the United States by giving a campaign speech. And rather than attending the hearing itself, she stayed in her office down the hall and used a teleprompter.
But the senator who wandered the farthest afield was Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. He seemed to think that he was at a hearing on campaign finance reform and used his entire opening statement to go on a bizarre rant about “dark money.” He didn’t stop to ask Judge Barrett a single question. He barely stopped to breathe.
As far as Judge Barrett is concerned, she has sat through three marathon grilling sessions with aplomb, answering even the most off-the-wall questions with good humor. Mothers of large families are, after all, used to dealing with children throwing tantrums.
The Democrats haven’t landed a single blow, and they know it.
“Can you hold up what you’ve been referring to in answering our questions?” one friendly senator asked at one point, dazzled by her grace under pressure. (He was reading from notes, but that’s different.) A smile lit up Barrett’s face as she held up a blank note pad.
If all of this political theater has illuminated anything, it’s the stark contrast between Amy Coney Barrett and her hectoring interlocutors. While she has struck many Americans as the very model of a fair, impartial, and sympathetic judge, the Democrats have come across as small-minded political hacks. It’s no wonder that support for her confirmation has been rapidly growing.
You have to congratulate President Trump for picking Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was the perfect choice to be his other running mate in the weeks leading up to the election because she’s basically untouchable.
If the Democrats thought they were going to ritually humiliate Judge Barrett by turning the hearings into an extended perp walk—the way they did to Justice Kavanaugh—they must know by now that they’ve failed.
The only walk of shame this time around will occur when those who oppose Barrett have to walk to the floor of the U.S. Senate knowing full well her confirmation is a forgone conclusion.
Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of “Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.” A former National Science Foundation fellow, he studied human biology at Stanford University under famed geneticist Luigi Cavalli-Sforza. He holds advanced degrees in Biological Oceanography, East Asian Studies, and Cultural Anthropology. One of America’s leading China watchers, he was selected in 1979 by the National Science Foundation to be the first American social scientist to do field research in China.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.