Meteor Blades

Barrett adds to Senate questionnaire which previously omitted forced-birther talks she made

If the prospect of her being confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice weren't so grim, Amy Coney Barrett's recent zipped-lip approach on her views about abortion and Roe v. Wade would be hilarious.

Are there doubts about where she stands in the matter, or how she would come down on any ruling to undermine or obliterate the 47-year-old decision that legalized abortion nationwide? Although she was picked for the nomination because she's an ultra-conservative on many issues, the biggest cheers attending the announcement of her selection came not from the Federalist Society, but from the forced-birther brigades who have sought for decades to get enough justices on the Supreme Court to kill (or at least maim) Roe. As a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, Barrett was a member of University Faculty for Life, a vigorous foe of abortion.

Her unwillingness to talk about her views with senators, and her initial failure to mention on her Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire that she signed a 2006 anti-abortion advertisement calling for "an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe vs Wade" won't provide any cover for what's she's truly about. And on Friday there was a new revelation. She hadn't told senators about a lecture and a seminar she gave in 2013 to two student forced-birther groups when she was teaching at Notre Dame. The lecture was called "Being a Woman After Roe" and advertised on Facebook. Titled "The Supreme Court's Abortion Jurisprudence," the seminar was a project of Jus Vitae, the university's "right to life" law student organization.

Barrett wouldn't, of course, be the first nominee to omit information that could have a bearing on confirmation. Intentional or accidental? You decide.

Late Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a supplemental update to Barrett's questionnaire that includes the lecture and seminar, as well as the hard-nosed advertisement, according to CNN. So far, it's not known what she said at the two events. CNN also reported that in 2014 the university removed a video of a campus talk Barrett gave to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade titled "Roe at 40: The Supreme Court, Abortion, and the Culture War that Followed." She disclosed this talk in her original Senate paperwork. A school spokesman said that video is now lost. How very convenient.

Will there be consequences for the omissions? In the past, Republican chairmen of the Judiciary Committee have halted the confirmation process when relevant material was left off a nominee's questionnaire. But for current Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham to take such action would require integrity and consistency that the South Carolina Republican has demonstrated he lacks.

When Barrett appears for her hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Monday, you can expect her to assert, as nominees have in the past, that she cannot say how she might rule on a future case, abortion or otherwise. Such a pretense of anticipatory objectivity has served other nominees well in the past, with enough senators willing to ignore the obvious and hand over a life-time appointment on the bench.

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