More than 1,500 graduates of U.S. District Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s alma mater posted a letter Monday opposing her Supreme Court nomination, citing her “anti-choice” and “hate group” associations.
The 1,514 alumni on the letter appearing on the Facebook page “Rhodes College Alumni Against Amy Coney Barrett’s Nomination” also said they opposed the Memphis college’s efforts to embrace Judge Barrett as a distinguished alumna.
“Many of us also were contemporaries of, friends of, and even sorority sisters of Amy Coney Barrett, who is now President Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat of the very recently departed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said the letter to Marjorie Hass, president of the small liberal arts college in Memphis, Tennessee.
“However, despite the respect that many of us hold for her intellect, and even the friendship that many of us held or continue to hold with her, we are firmly and passionately opposed to her nomination,” the letter continued.
Judge Barrett, a conservative jurist who says she adheres to the judicial philosophy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was nominated Saturday to fill the vacancy left by the Sept. 18 death of Justice Ginsburg, a liberal jurist who spent 27 years on the high court.
The letter cited Judge Barrett’s membership in “the anti-choice group University Faculty for Life” at Notre Dame Law School, and “her disapproval of the ACA [Affordable Care Act], a statute that helps to ensure access to healthcare for millions of vulnerable people who may not otherwise have access.”
In addition, the alumni raised concerns about her speeches before the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, describing it as a “hate group,” based on the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map.”
The center has long been accused by conservatives of seeking to score political points by lumping mainstream right-of-center organizations with racist cabals like the Ku Klux Klan.
In a Sept. 22 statement, Ms. Hass said that it was “remarkable that a Rhodes graduate should appear at the top of a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, but it is in keeping with a long history of Rhodes connections to the highest court in the land.”
“Judge Coney Barrett participates in this tradition of academic excellence,” said Ms. Hass. “As a member of the Rhodes College Class of 1994, she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in English. While at Rhodes, she was elected to the Honor Council and to the Student Hall of Fame. She has gone on to a career of professional distinction and achievement.”
It turns out Judge Barrett would not be the first Rhodes graduate to sit on the court — that was Justice Abe Fortas, class of 1930 — but in their letter, the alumni urged the administration to avoid lauding her.
“[A]s proud Rhodes alumni, we implore you to make very clear that: (1) Rhodes opposes intolerance, discrimination, and bigotry of all kinds; and (2) that Rhodes stands with its LGBTQ, female, minority, and other marginalized students and graduates who fear that their rights may be endangered by the lifetime appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the highest court in the land,” said the letter.
My alma mater left out a few things in its release. #ACB was a magna cum laude graduate & has put @RhodesCollege on a plane only Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, and Cornell have achieved. Rhodes College alumni everywhere should be proud of Amy Coney Barrett. I know I am. https://t.co/rAOQsU7pD1— Brad Todd (@BradOnMessage) September 28, 2020
Another Rhodes alumnus, Republican strategist Brad Todd, disagreed, tweeting that “Rhodes College alumni everywhere should be proud of Amy Coney Barrett. I know I am.”
Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham said Saturday that hearings on Judge Barrett’s nomination will begin Oct. 12 and head to the Senate floor by Oct. 26, even as Democrats accuse the Republican majority of rushing the confirmation vote.
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