The Federalist Society's list of approved Supreme Court nominees, from which the nominee will be drawn, has a handful of youngish women wingnuts, two of whom seem to top the list for the vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The two sucking up most of the oxygen in the speculation, and whom power-addled Donald Trump seems to be able to keep in his head, are over-the-top extremist and extremist: Amy Coney Barrett, representing The Handmaid's Tale as societal model wing, and Barbara Lagoa, the quid pro quo choice.
Starting with Barrett: She does indeed belong to an extreme, charismatic wing of the Catholic Church called People of Praise, which actually did serve as the inspiration for Margaret Atwood in her dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale. The book was published in 1985 after Atwood "delayed writing it for about three years after I got the idea because I felt it was too crazy," she told The New York Times Book Review in 1986. "Then two things happened. I started noticing that a lot of the things I thought I was more or less making up were now happening, and indeed more of them have happened since the publication of the book." Specifically: "There is a sect now, a Catholic charismatic spinoff sect, which calls the women handmaids. They don't go in for polygamy of this kind but they do threaten the handmaids according to the biblical verse I use in the book—sit down and shut up." Yeah, that's Barrett's church. Except they've dropped the "head" moniker for male leadership and "handmaids" title for women who keep their fellow women in line because the television series based on the novel forced a change. They are now all called "leaders," who direct such intimate life decisions of members as who they marry, where they live, and how they raise their children.
Barrett herself has said that a "legal career is but a means to an end […] and that end is building the Kingdom of God." So that's fun. She's also written that judges shouldn't necessarily be held to upholding Supreme Court precedents like Roe v. Wade, which she almost certainly would vote to restrict out of existence. Barrett's religion came up briefly in her confirmation hearing for her current position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. California Democrat Dianne Feinstein mentioned: "The dogma lives loudly within you," and the entire Republican world erupted, accusing Feinstein of trying to impose an unconstitutional "religious test" on nominees. The issue pretty much ended there. It can't end there in hearings should Trump nominate Barrett. That is, if McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham don't just decide to forego hearings and send her straight to the floor. At this point, McConnell could probably get 51 Republican senators to do anything for Trump.
In her position on the 7th, Barrett's most telling decision thus far is to deter colleges and universities from vigorously investigating sexual assault allegations by making it easier for students accused of assault to challenge the handling of their cases. Barrett based her decision on reverse gender discrimination, writing in a case against Purdue University: "It is plausible that [university officials] chose to believe Jane because she is a woman and to disbelieve John because he is a man," turning what might have been a more straightforward due process issue into a gender bias question. So that's Barrett.
Barbara Lagoa rocketed onto the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals courtesy of McConnell's judicial juggernaut. She is a 52-year-old daughter of Cuban exiles and she was born in Miami, Florida. Not only has Trump talked about the great political advantage he could get in Florida with a Supreme Court pick, there's more quid pro quo here. Lagoa is right now considering Trump campaign chief Jason Miller's $100 million libel lawsuit against Gizmodo. The suit stems from a 2018 report on the now-defunct website Splinter that Miller slipped an abortion pill into a smoothie he gave to a woman he had gotten pregnant. The allegations arose in a custody dispute brought by another woman, Trump staffer A.G. Delgado, who had a child by Miller. Gizmodo is Splinter's parent company. A district court judge in Miami threw the suit out a year ago, Miller appealed, and now Lagoa is considering it. If she were worthy of a Supreme Court seat, she would either recuse herself from Miller's case or she would remove herself from consideration for SCOTUS. Neither, not surprisingly, has happened yet.
Lagoa is, of course, a Federalist Society member and in tight with Florida Republicans. So tight that a flood of text messages and calls from Florida poured into the White House and Justice Department over the weekend, "several people with knowledge of the discussions" told the Post. They're making very little effort to say this is about anything other than the importance of Florida in November. "She is a Cuban woman from Miami, and Florida is the most important state in the election," said Jesse Panuccio, former Trump Justice official and a member of the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission.
The quid pro quo doesn't really stop with the Miller case, either. Lagoa just gave Trump a big gift in concurring in the decision to impose a poll tax on former felons in Florida, preventing as many as 85,000 eligible voters from casting ballots. She's already been under fire from Senate Democrats for not recusing herself from the case, a failure which "appears to violate the Code of Conduct for United States Judges" given her role last year in an advisory opinion handed down by the Florida Supreme Court on which she sat at the time. She's anti-labor, of course, and as a Catholic, a forced birther.
These are dumpster fire candidates, neither worthy of Ruth Badger Ginsburg's seat. They're not worthy of their current seats, Barrett by virtue of her lived rejection of the establishment clause and Lagoa over a proven disregard for ethics.