Senate Republican women denounced the double-standard they say liberals place on conservative women, as they went to bat for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday.
Led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, seven of the nine women in the Senate Republican conference gathered at the Capitol to defend President Trump’s nominee from criticism about her ability to balance work with being a mother.
“Nobody asked the men that,” said Sen. Martha McSally, Arizona Republican. “That’s the hypocrisy that normally happens, but you would normally have the feminists on the left lining up to defend her. And so we’re asking, where are those voices?”
Judge Barrett, if confirmed, would make history as the first woman with school-age children appointed to the high court. She would be the fifth woman to serve as a Supreme Court jurist.
A devout Catholic, the judge faced a harsh grilling during her 2017 Court of Appeals hearing from Democratic senators concerned that she would not be able to separate her faith’s pro-life teachings from court precedent.
“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said during that hearing.
Those same criticisms surfaced from the left before Judge Barrett was officially nominated, with pro-choice advocates concerned her appointment would mean the Supreme Court would overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.
In particular, recent news reports have ramped up scrutiny of the judge’s apparent ties to a religious group, People of Praise, that reportedly teaches that men are the divinely ordained “head” of households.
“Many of us know if you’re a woman who is pro-life, pro-family, pro-religion, that many times the left will say that we don’t want to hear your voice,” Ms. Blackburn said when asked about the People of Praise connection. “Her religion and how she practices her religion ought not to be a disqualifier because we appreciate freedom of religion.”
Judge Barrett’s confirmation would mark a shift to the right for the high court, with a solid 6-3 conservative majority.
Republicans, over Democrats’ objections and accusations of hypocrisy, are moving swiftly on her nomination, with Senate Judiciary Committee hearings set to start Oct. 12 and a confirmation vote before the end of October — just days before the Nov. 3 elections.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is leading the charge against Judge Barrett.
She said questions about Judge Barrett’s faith aren’t specifically what Democrats are concerned with, but her “closely held views” are questionable in regards to duties as a jurist.
“Her faith is irrelevant, but what’s relevant is whether her closely held views can be separated from her ability to make objective, fair decisions with a lifetime appointment,” the Hawaii Democrat said. “It comes up — if at all — in the context of her closely held views.”
Ms. Hirono has refused to meet one-on-one with Judge Barrett.
Liberal activists insist the criticism isn’t about her gender.
Marge Baker, executive vice president for the progressive People for the American Way, said the left’s criticism “isn’t about Judge Barrett personally” but the larger issue about her opinions on the Affordable Care Act and abortion.
Indeed, Senate Democrats have avoided personal attacks against Judge Barrett.
“Look at her record. Her record, what she believes in, in terms of ACA — get rid of ACA, you take loads of protections away from women’s health,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “You look at her record on the right to choose, which a majority of Americans want to maintain Roe v. Wade. You see that her record is really against what women in America need and want.”