Democrats have no case against Amy Coney Barrett — but that won't stop them

The death of Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgCourt watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress Schumer waiting for recommendation on Supreme Court expansion MORE put in motion the provisions of the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. On Sept. 26, President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors MORE discharged his constitutional duty and nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. The Senate begins its work with Judiciary Committee hearings today.

But Democrats began their efforts to derail any nomination even before the passing of Justice Ginsburg. Her death only accelerated their efforts.

First they scurried around, hoping to find enough Republicans to stall the constitutional process. That failed. They now know they don’t have the votes to procedurally block a nomination. 


Sen. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture MORE (D-N.Y.) is still going to try. He’s now arguing that concerns about the pandemic should postpone any action. He knows that’s also going to fail.

Other Democrats have suggested different tactics. Some said they’d refuse to meet with the nominee. So much for a fair hearing. 

Houser Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' McCarthy says he supports Stefanik for House GOP conference chair Ode to Mother's Day MORE (D-Calif.) even hinted at a second impeachment of the president. She knew that was pure bluster. Attempting another impeachment would be political suicide for her party, especially when the “high crime” was doing what the Constitution requires.

The simple fact is, the opponents of Judge Barrett can’t make a case against her qualifications because they’re unassailable.

Judge Barrett is uniformly regarded as a brilliant legal mind, possessing a fair and impartial approach, a judicial temperament, and a deep and abiding respect for the rule of law and the Constitution. 

During her confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals, every full-time faculty member at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where Judge Barrett had been named “professor of the year” three times, signed a letter in support of her legal scholarship, fair-mindedness and personal integrity. So did several hundred of her students. Those who knew her best have nothing but the highest praise for her. Judge Barrett was confirmed with 55 votes, including that of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE’s former running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). 


Judge Barrett’s sterling record won’t slow down Senate Democrats. They don’t have the votes to defeat her, but they’re going to put on a show anyway. They’re betting they can bolster their base for the upcoming election, especially for tightly-contested Senate seats.

So what’s their case against Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettCourt watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress Conservative justices split in ruling for immigrant fighting deportation MORE?

Sadly, past is prologue and we’ve seen what is coming. When they can’t tackle the credentials or qualifications of a nominee, things quickly get very personal and very ugly.

It started in 1987 when Democrats savaged Robert Bork, eventually defeating his nomination. Then they chased Douglas Ginsburg out of the running because he had — get this — smoked marijuana. Four years later, they went after Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasSupreme Court gets it wrong again, denying justice to those in uniform Overnight Defense: Top general drops objection to major change in prosecuting military sexual assault | Supreme Court declines to take up case from former West Point cadet | Pentagon says 'small' attacks not affecting Afghanistan withdrawal Supreme Court declines to hear case over former West Point cadet's rape allegations MORE, who referred to his ordeal as a “high-tech lynching.” More recently it was Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughConservative justices split in ruling for immigrant fighting deportation Supreme Court weighs whether to limit issuance of exemptions to biofuel blending requirements The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill MORE

There’s not a hint of scandal regarding Judge Barrett. But the opposition will make it personal. First they will attack her faith. A devout Catholic, she was told during her Court of Appeals confirmation that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” 

Put aside for a moment the fact that any religious test is unconstitutional. Shouldn’t the left be embarrassed to attack Judge Barrett’s faith regardless? Apparently what they really are concerned about is her devotion. She lives and practices her faith, and for that she’ll be attacked when she should be lauded.

These purported “concerns” miss the mark for another reason: Judge Barrett does not see herself as a policymaker. She’s a textualist and originalist who will follow the law, not her personal faith.

The left won’t slow down as they move past attacks on the judge’s faith. Next it will be her family.

Judge Barrett and her husband, Jesse, have seven children. They live in a modest house in suburban South Bend, Ind. One of their children has special needs. Two are adopted from foreign countries. If you thought that kids were off limits, you thought wrong. Among the most despicable attacks on Judge Barrett involves her adoption of two Black children from Haiti.

Ibram X. Kendi of Boston University tweeted that, “White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children. They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the superior ways of White people while using them as props.” 

John Lee Brougher, managing director of NextGen America, chimed in, “Transracial adoption is fraught with trauma and potential for harm and everything I see here is deeply concerning.” What in the hell is he looking at?

I cannot speak for the Barretts or their children. But I can speak from personal experience. My white parents built a family of little brown children, all but one of whom, myself included, were foreign adoptions. Neither I nor any of my siblings could even imagine the ridiculousness of those mean-spirited comments. I’ll bet the same is true for the Barrett kids.


The Democrats even have gone after her for being a working mom with younger children at home. Can you hear the screams from these same folks if someone on the right said that about a woman?

Judge Barrett’s own words should be the centerpiece of this discussion: “What greater thing can you do than raise children? That’s where you can have your greatest impact on the world.” 

The simple fact is, there is no case against Judge Barrett. Senate Democrats know that. Because they don’t have the votes to stop her, they will talk — and talk.

But attempts to stall the constitutional process, besmirch her name, or gain some marginal advantage in the election are putting them between the dog and the political fire hydrant.

Attacks on her faith will backfire. Ugly shots at her family will be met with enormous contempt. Attempts to thwart the process will annoy voters. 

Once the talking ends, there’s a good outcome to all of the potential ugliness of the next couple of weeks: confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Charlie Gerow, first vice chairman of the American Conservative Union, has held national leadership positions in several Republican presidential campaigns. A nationally recognized expert in strategic communications, he is CEO of Quantum Communications, a Pennsylvania-based media relations and issue advocacy firm. Follow him on Twitter @Charlie_Gerow.