Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner October 22, 2020
What Canadian cares about an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court?
It seems a lot of us do, mindful as we are of the multiple breaches of law, precedent and civil norms committed by the president and his administration on a daily basis in the last four years. Mindful too, of the immense power of that high court, sitting in Washington with nine members, two of whom are women, in lifetime positions.
It involves an unfortunate death, an unseemly, hasty process to fill the seat by the Republicans before the election, a questionable nominee and an insult to the legacy of the recently departed feminist justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
It also changes the composition of the nine-member court from the present 4-4 liberal-conservative split, with Chief Justice John Roberts, a question mark in any decision, usually siding with the conservatives. If this nominee, a person who is deeply conservative, with only two years on a bench of any kind is confirmed later this month, a 6-3 majority for the right-wing will be established.
Talk about culture wars. Such a majority would cast America to the far-right of the spectrum for decades to come. On health care, on immigration, on climate, on reproductive rights.
A friend said to me this morning “Trumpy things seep over the border no matter what.”
So I pay attention, not only because I proudly share the same initials as Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). This week I was relieved to have an opportunity to speak out against the whole sham, along with a number of American leaders, in a statement deploring the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
Since much has been made of her Catholic identity, we spoke as Catholics, of very different positions from her on issues.
The statement will go out to the media and to all 100 Senators. My name and nationality will no doubt grab the attention of the senators from Montana or Alabama. But seriously, other signatories will attract attention, I am sure.
The coalition issuing the declaration is “Women-Church Convergence,” a coalition of 30 Catholic-rooted women’s organizations in the states including Dignity, the Women’s Ordination Conference, Catholics for Choice and several orders of nuns.
It says: “We urge the Senate to stop the process before it further erodes our democracy. We suggest that Judge Barrett signal her unwillingness to participate in such a charade. After the November election, the duly-elected chief executive can resubmit her name or begin again with another candidate. A clean process is in everyone’s best interest.”
It continues: “The current nomination is tainted by a flawed process that will forever affix an asterisk to any justice nominated under such circumstances: an election already underway, and a rush to install, with clear implications for Post-election cases.”
”We have serious concerns about the judgment of any nominee who would collaborate in material ways in such a morally dubious enterprise. To collaborate in the public corruption of the judicial system is to create scandal.”
The Women-Church letter goes on: "Judge Barrett is a moral agent capable and responsible for making her own choices. But even an appearance of willingness to put her own agency and integrity in service of a long-standing, conservative, and parochial agenda is deeply troubling to us. We cry foul here, not simply because we disagree with her on many substantive issues to which she has the right to her opinions, but because the process diminishes and demeans all involved. We state the obvious when we say that Amy Coney Barrett does not represent us or legions of Catholics who find the agenda of the current administration morally repugnant. We are pro-choice and pro-family; pro-LGBTQTI rights and pro-marriage-equality. Systemic racism and climate change are not matters of opinion. Facts must ground judicial decisions.”
Women-Church Convergence, to which I happily belong, amplifies diverse feminist, faith-filled voices. We raise our voices to call a halt to this pernicious process and return to fair and honourable bipartisan practices.
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