The U.S. Supreme Court’s fall term is going to be dangerous—and corrupt. There’s the potential shattering of democracy with the case pushing the radical independent state legislature theory, which could put radical Republican legislatures in sole charge of federal elections under the out-there legal theory embraced by insurrectionists including Ginni Thomas, who happens to be the spouse of Justice Clarence Thomas.
There’s another attack on the executive branch that could tear apart the social safety net, putting Medicaid, food assistance with SNAP, and the WIC program at the mercy of those same GOP states. They could end affirmative action in higher education via challenges to the consideration of race in the admissions process at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, restrict the enforcement of clean water regulations, and in general do so much more damage than they already have.
They are also going to revisit the culture wars in a case brought by a Colorado graphic designer who is suing the state over its anti-bias law that would require her to accept the business of a hypothetical same-sex couple wanting a wedding-related website, despite her religious opposition to marriage equality. It’s not clear that that has ever actually happened in her business, but that’s certainly not going to stop the likes of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing the plaintiff. Nor is it likely to deter the sitting justice who has a conflict of interest because of the paid professional relationship she had with ADF: Amy Coney Barrett.
ADF is a legal advocacy and training group that is focused on “religious liberty” protections and fighting LGBTQ equality. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers it a hate group—a hate group that has paid Barrett for five speaking engagements since 2011, once in that year and then every year from 2013 to 2016.
She spoke five times at the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a summer program for law students to teach them a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law.” The ADF established that program in order to teach students “how God can use them as judges, law professors and practicing attorneys to help keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel in America.” This five-time, paid instructor is the same Amy Coney Barrett who said at her confirmation hearing for the D.C. Circuit that she didn’t know that Blackstone had anything to do with ADF until she got her honorarium that said “ADF” on the check. Whether that was the first check or the fifth check is unclear.
She also said, “I don’t feel like affiliation with a group commits me to all of that group’s policy positions.” Never mind her personal policy positions that line up with the groups with which she has affiliated. Barrett signed on to a 2015 letter to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family from “Catholic women” stating marriage and family are “founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.”
Setting aside her personal convictions, which have certainly been on display in her tenure on the federal bench, she is going to hear a case brought by an advocacy organization that paid her money to advance their goals. That’s a conflict of interest. That would require she recuse herself from the case—that is, if the Supreme Court had to adhere to any code of ethics or was remotely legitimate at this point.
She won’t recuse, just as Clarence Thomas won’t recuse on any elections case, even while sleeping with an insurrectionist every night. Again, this is not a legitimate court and it has already done profound damage to the nation, with more promised.
It has to be expanded and reformed until these extremists are made irrelevant.
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