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I'd Rather Have a Straight, White Dude on the Supreme Court

Vivia Chen

September 24, 2020

Businessman-4782650_1920We all know how this is going to end.

Really, no point in calling out hypocrisy or appealing to our better angels. We are way past all that. Here’s the reality: President Donald J. Trump will get to fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I hate to say Rush Limbaugh makes sense, but his proposal to skip the hearings for the Supreme Court nominee has a ring of practicality. “We don’t need to open that up for whatever length of time, so that whoever this nominee is can be Kavanaugh’d, or Borked, or Thomas’d,” said Limbaugh on his radio show. “Because that’s what it’s going to be, especially when it’s not even required.”

I’m not sure that Limbaugh is right that hearings aren’t required, but I get his point. Why pretend we need to probe the nominee’s background or judicial philosophy? The Republicans control the deck and can ram any Supreme Court nominee down America’s throat they want. It could be Elmo or Hannibal Lecter, and we can’t stop them.

It’s depressing, but I’ve accepted it—along with the dismantling of women’s reproductive freedom, the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ rights, separation of church and state, gun control, environmental regulations—well, you get the drift.

I can accept all those things, but this is what’s still hard to take: It will be another woman who will replace Ginsburg, and she will be the anti-RBG. Indeed, her job is to tear down RBG’s legacy of equal rights, piece by piece.

Trump says his nominee will be “a very talented, very brilliant woman,” and he’s made it clear that he expects the next justice to strike the final blows to Roe v. Wade. And one of his leading contenders for the court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 48 (the other is Judge Barbara Lagoa of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 52), has already spoken on this point.

Law & Crime reports that Barrett signed a joint letter attesting to “the value of human life from conception to natural death,” and told Notre Dame Magazine that “life begins at conception.” (Fun fact: Barrett belongs to a religious group, People of Praise, that preaches wives be obedient to their husbands.)

Look, I know it’s a given that Trump will appoint a Justice who’s anti-choice and likely to erode other measures that affect women’s reproductive rights (already, this year, the Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration in allowing employers with religious or moral objections to opt out of birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act). But there’s something distinctly cynical about appointing a woman to make the fatal cuts. It’s almost brilliantly diabolical, like butchering the mother and serving the remains to her young.

Ironically, of course, Trump will use his appointment of a woman to the Supreme Court to showcase how awesome he’s been for women. And unlike Obama, who got criticized for elevating two childless women—Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—Trump can brag that his leading contenders are moms. (You might remember some women lamented that promoting Sotomayor and Kagan sent the wrong message about how high-achieving women are often childless.) In fact, Lagoa has three kids, while Barrett has seven. Try topping that!

So Trump is not just promoting women but moms. That makes him a big feminist—maybe the biggest in the history of the world!

But I wish Trump would revert to what he truly is: The tireless promoter of older, straight, white guys—someone who resembles him, Mike Pence and others in his entourage. That’s really what dismantling the legacy of RBG is all about—a return to the bygone, patriarchal order.

So, please, Mr. President, give the next Supreme Court Justice job to those with the best qualification: White, straight men. Because if you’re going to take away my rights and those of my daughters, it’d be far more honest (and less hurtful) if you let a man do the dirty work.

Related post: RBG: A Feminist Even My Mother-in-Law Could Like

vchen@alm.com

Twitter: @lawcareerist

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Jen, remember that Clarence Thomas was the opposite of Justice Marshall, it goes with today's Republican mindset, simple really and sad.

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The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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