“This is history being made here folks,” Lindsey Graham declared at Day 3 of the thus-far anticlimactic confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett. The hearing has gone so smoothly for Barrett that the Judiciary chair apparently felt the need to heighten its historical profile to keep up interest in the proceedings. Barrett’s confirmation would “punch through … a reinforced concrete barrier around conservative women,” he told Barrett.
“This won’t be celebrated in most places.” Certainly not in the media:
“This hearing to me is an opportunity to not punch through a glass ceiling, but a reinforced concrete barrier around conservative women. You’re going to shatter that barrier. I’ve never been more proud of a nominee than I am of you.” pic.twitter.com/3rJeAYZQiD
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 14, 2020
Is there a “reinforced concrete barrier” around conservative women, though? Barrett and other women got nominated for earlier judicial positions by Trump. In the Bush administration, one of his biggest fights over judges was for Janice Rogers Brown, a black woman with conservative judicial temperament who appeared to also be on Bush’s shortlist for future Supreme Court nominations. Bush named several women to the appellate circuit too besides Brown. Barrett has enjoyed a moderately meteoric rise over the last three years. One can even question whether it’s accurate to claim that Barrett’s the first conservative woman on the Supreme Court; when Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, the impression was that she was fairly conservative at the time (not pro-life, however), although in certain ways she “grew in office.”
It’s probably more accurate to say that there is significant cultural hostility toward conservative women rather than a barrier. But that’s true of conservative blacks, as my friend Larry Elder laid out in his documentary Uncle Tom. It’s true of conservative Hispanics, conservative Asians, conservative gays and lesbians, and any conservatives that come from what liberals consider their protected-classes fiefdoms. It’s the conservative part that’s the sticking point, and conservatives can get past that by winning elections rather than falling back into victimology. As Barrett’s confirmation will attest, in fact.
However, it is sorely tempting to play this card when the Left is hyperventilating its hypocrisy on identity-politics betrayal and their own bigotry. Alexandra De Sanctis points out how Barrett has made them lose their minds:
Barrett is a conservative Catholic, she’s the mother of a large family, she’s anti-abortion in her personal life, and her constitutional originalism likely makes her at least skeptical of the anti-constitutional machinations underpinning Roe.
It is for that reason that we’re being treated not only to an onslaught of reports criticizing Barrett’s involvement in a lay Christian group, but also to columns such as this one by Sarah Jones in New York magazine. Entirely eliding Barrett’s stellar legal career, Jones labels her a “the perfect victim for the Christian right,” suggesting that her sole value is as a martyr for conservatives to pretend that their values are under attack while advancing a radical agenda through the court.
Along the way, Jones reveals herself to be either illiterate in or unconcerned with the facts, insisting for example that the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby were wrong to argue that emergency contraception can cause abortions. In fact, the Obama administration itself has conceded the point. Jones also offers the laughable proposition that Justice Antonin Scalia’s view of the First Amendment was aimed at creating “one law for conservative Christians and another, more restrictive standard of law applied to everyone else.”
Her article is the latest evidence that progressive feminists wish to promote and celebrate successful women only insofar as they toe the progressive line. If they don’t, they’ll find themselves dismissed as, at best, useful victims.
Looks like the Left wants to play victim cards in its own way with Barrett’s nomination. With that in mind, it’s tough to chide Graham for dunking on this point, even if the concrete barriers are mainly imaginary.