Rhodes Alumni Launch Campaign to Remove Justice Barrett from School’s Hall of Fame

Rhodes College

The petition by an alumni group at Rhodes College is seeking to remove Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett from the school’s “Hall of Fame” due to her vote in the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The petition accuses Barrett of violating the school’s honor code by testifying untruthfully in her confirmation hearing. In reality, the letter engages in gross misrepresentations of her testimony in the latest attack on her character and honesty. It is a letter that should be condemned by people regardless of their view of reproductive rights.  The letter also declares Justice Barrett to be a threat to democracy because she holds opposing views on constitutional interpretation.

The petition is directed to the school’s president Jennifer Collins and Director of Community Standards Richard Adams. While the signatories insists that they were “impelled” to write the letter, this is just the latest such letter targeting Barrett. Three alumni are listed as original authors or sponsors: Rob Marus, ’97, Katherine Morgan Breslin, ’98, and Kimberly Pillsbury Steele, ‘98.

According to the letter, the signatories’ “firm belief in the Rhodes Honor Code we all signed impels us to make this request.” However, Rob Marus and Katherine Morgan Breslin also authored a letter in 2020 opposing the confirmation of Barrett as “diametrically opposed to the values of truth, loyalty, and service that we learned at Rhodes.”

Rob Marus started a Facebook group opposing her appointment to the Supreme Court. Marus appears to be the Associate Vice President for Communications at Association of American Universities (AAU) where he handles “AAU’s writing and messaging, ensuring message consistency and clarity as well as utility in reaching AAU’s strategic communications goals.” (An inquiry was sent to Marus to confirm that he is indeed one of the main sponsors of this petition).

Marus was not writing in his capacity as a VP of the AAU and has every right to speak against the justice over the disagreement on these issues. However, if this is the same Rob Marus, it is surprising to see someone holding a high position in an academic organization at the head of a campaign to sanction a justice for holding opposing views (particularly based on such false claims). The AAU is premised on principles of academic freedom and free speech. The use of such false and misleading attacks to sanction a graduate undermines those principles.

These signatories seek to sanction Barrett for holding opposing views on issues that have divided the court and the legal profession for decades.

The latest letter repeats the false claim that Barrett misled the Senate on her views on Roe. To invoke the honor code to make such a false claim truly captures the sense of impunity exhibited by many critics today. The irony is that the opposite is true about Barrett’s answers which were more substantive than her predecessors.

At the time, I wrote that Barrett was refreshingly and surprisingly honest about her judicial philosophy and approach to Roe. She specifically rejected the claim that Roe constitutes “super precedent.” Barrett said that this term “define[s] cases that are so well settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling. And I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall in that category.” (Notably, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson took the same position against Roe as super precedent).

Moreover some of these same Rhodes alumni opposed Barrett because her view of Roe was clearly critical. Indeed, senators lined up to vote against her on that very basis.

In the letter, the alumni declare  “It was, at best, disingenuous of Justice Barrett to admit that she did not believe Roe to be a ‘super-precedent’ yet then suggest that did not mean the case ‘should’ be overruled, despite clearly adhering to a legal philosophy that would obviously lead her to rule against Roe.” That statement perfectly captures the vacuous quality of these points. There is nothing disingenuous in saying that a case is not super-precedent but still might not be overturned. The point is only that the case is protected by the same principles of a stare decisis as other cases, which affords protection to precedent but does not make such cases inviolate. Barrett’s statement was refreshingly honest and accurate.

The alumni group also accuses Justice Barrett of being “one of the biggest current threats to our fundamental rights, the stability of our nation, and our democracy.” So the mere fact that Justice Barrett shares a view of constitutional interpretation with millions of other citizens (and many judges and lawyers), she is now a threat to our democracy?

The use of clearly false allegations in the name of upholding the honor system does not seem to concern these signatories. Yet, it is Justice Barrett who is accused of “an egregious lack of fidelity with the Rhodes Honor System.” They use the allegations to demand that “Justice Barrett be removed from the Rhodes College Hall of Fame based on the above violations of the Rhodes Honor System.”

Rhodes College should celebrate that it played a role in the education of a woman who has achieved such great success in the law regardless of disagreements with her constitutional views or positions. We can have passionate debates on those issues while showing mutual respect and civility.

That has not been the case at Rhodes College where Justice Barrett’s portraits have been repeatedly defaced. One had the words “Go F*ck Yourself” scribbled on it. Another featured Barrett as the devil, along with more profane language.

These alumni fuel such anger with these unfounded and reckless attacks. This is a controversy that should be a clarion call for the entire Rhodes College community. This is a wonderful school with an excellent academic reputation. People of good-faith should have the courage to stand with Justice Barrett as an alumna regardless of their agreement or disagreement with her views.

As a professor and a jurist, Barrett has written on these issues for decades with comprehensive and at times profound observations on how to approach constitutional interpretation. We can disagree on those conclusions while condemning those who seek to slander or cancel her.

 

 

198 thoughts on “Rhodes Alumni Launch Campaign to Remove Justice Barrett from School’s Hall of Fame”

  1. The good professor notes: “Marus was not writing in his capacity as a VP of the AAU [Association of American Universities] and has every right to speak against the justice over the disagreement on these issues. However, …it is surprising to see someone holding a high position in an academic organization at the head of a campaign to sanction a justice for holding opposing views (particularly based on such false claims). The AAU is premised on principles of academic freedom and free speech. The use of such false and misleading attacks to sanction a graduate undermines those principles.”
    Amen.
    But we have seen this coming for years–and have warned against the loss of balance and the insidious infiltration of political partisanship into academia/educational systems,- manifesting in chronic, persistent indoctrination and grooming- instead of inquiry and critical thinking.
    It is my understanding that Marus, prior to his association at AAU, worked for Democrat Attorney General Karl Racine in Washington, DC.
    Marus’s current boss in Communications at AAU, Pedro Rubiero, headed communications for Congressional Democrat Zoe Lofner (you know, the one on the J6 committee). –And Rubiero’s boss is Democrat Barbara Snyder, the pinnacle head of AAU.
    I’m not against Democrats. I’m against left-wing indoctrination.

  2. She lied under oath in her confirmation hearings. That is enough to undermine her credibility and justifies the publics mistrust of her, justifies her alumni questioning her legitimacy. But it’s more than that. The conservative arm of SCOTUS is effectively legislating from the bench when they ignore their own precedence and lay a foundation to strip citizens of all of our rights as defined BY THEM over the last 100 years. The public has lost confidence in SCOTUS. Justice Scalia must be rolling in his grave.

    1. What is the “lie” that you believe she told? Please be specific, so that we can understand your premise. Thank you!

      1. Lin, the leftist idea of a lie is a statement that doesn’t coincide with what is on the leftist mind. Today it is a lie and tomorrow it could be the truth.

        Is there such a thing as truth to a leftist? I no longer believe there is, as the powerful in their ranks can make an about-face at anytime though risking stability.

        I think the horrors of the French Revolution demonstrate the leftist mind at work.

    2. She lied under oath in her confirmation hearings.

      🤔 It should be easy then for you to cite the lie.

      The conservative arm of SCOTUS is effectively legislating from the bench when they ignore their own precedence and lay a foundation to strip citizens of all of our rights as defined BY THEM over the last 100 years.

      Actually the framers laid the constitutional framework of federalism long before progressivism began stripping citizens and their state legislators of their rights.

      Now that’s the original stare decisis.

    3. Catherine, a person obviously unable to think critically, states that “SCOTUS is effectively legislating from the bench” when in fact the Court is doing the exact opposite. Catherine, the “deep thinker” believes that Blackmun and the Roe Court was NOT legislating from the bench but that the Dobbs Court giving the decision making process to state legislators is “legislating”??? Can someone please explain that to me.

    4. I have no reason to believe that Justice Barrett lied under oath during the confirmation hearings. If you believe that she did, please cite the statement that you believe was a lie.

      Questions during confirmation hearings often seek a candidate’s position on whether a particular precedent should be overturned. While the questioner may be well-intentioned, I would hope that any Senator asking such a question would realize that there should be no expectation of receiving a definitive answer. That’s because it is impossible to know in advance the specific facts of a case that might come before SCOTUS on appeal.

      I, for one, believe that the rationale for the SCOTUS opinion in Roe v. Wade was not well founded. It was a stretch. Many of the folks who are vehemently protesting the decision in Dobbs have never read either Roe or Dobbs. It’s disappointing, but not surprising because we are living in a world where many people formulate their opinions based on sound bites.

    5. The liar is you, Catherine Dolan. Barrett was truthful, but you don’t agree with her so — like every “progressive” — you simply lie through your teeth about her.

      1. Any whining leftist pro-abortionists who claim to be suprised – in fact shocked! – that Trump’s Supreme Court Justices were going to over turn Roe is performance art. Each time a Republican President appoints a Supreme Court justice, the Leftist Democrats (who absolutely hate babies, especially black and brown babies) go bananas and vote against the nominee. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was a circus, an embarrassment, and un-American. Democrats are the enemy of this country.

        1. RE:”Any whining leftist pro-abortionists who claim to be surprised…: The dice was tossed in Dobbs and those who brought the case should have be astute enough to expect that Roe would have to stand against a 50 year advance in the knowledge base of science and medicine as well as the never-ending controversy as to the constitutionality of the original ruling particularly in regard to the substance of the Mississippi law. That, in doing their do diligence, the Court would not fail to ‘look under the carpet’, so to speak, was an expectation not to be had. Mississippi did not make abortion unlawful, it simply lowered the threshold .Roe had already established at what point in the gestation period State had an interest in the matter. Sometimes half a loaf is better than nothing. Deal with it!!

  3. Will Rhodes cave to this scurrilous, mean-spirited attack on Justice Coney Barrett? Caving is the first impulse of those who run academic institutions today. When will administrators finally say NO to the wokesters and return to constitutional principles, respect for others, and decency?

    1. Mike, I too always await an administration that will stand up to the little girls and boys screaming temper tantrums and then I realize that the administrators have all been indoctrinated in the same way as the boys and girls and actually agree with them. The schools, and the nation, are doomed.

  4. Thank you Mr. Turley! My family has been apart of Southwestern at Memphis and Rhodes College community since the early 80’s. My brother graduated in ’84, my daughter most recently in ’22, and myself in ’86. The school lost it’s way following the departure of President Jim Daughdrill in early ’90s. Thank you again for calling attention to the ongoing nonsense at 2000 N. Parkway, your article gives us hope. All the best. MEM

  5. These are a bunch of hypocrites. If they really want to stand on moral high ground, petition to have the name Cecil Rhodes removed for being a genocidal racist.

    1. RE:”petition to have the name Cecil Rhodes removed for being a genocidal racist.” You’d think that would have been done years ago when South Africa threw off the chains of apartheid. One can only wonder if this sniveling, virtue signaling lot has studied enough world history to know who he was.

      1. The college was named Rhodes for a beloved physics professor. It is in no way related to Cecil Rhodes.

        1. RE:”The college……………..is in no way related to Cecil Rhodes.” Duly noted, accepted, and corrected. Thank you.

          1. “Duly noted, accepted, and corrected. Thank you.”

            There’s a breath of fresh air: A non-hostile, non–defensive, sincere appreciation for the correction of a mistake.

  6. People such as these 3 may have a vocabulary (impelled, disingenuous), but their educations failed to make them anyone other than small-minded bigoted people who are unable to live or work with others who do not espouse their leftist, woke, progressive views. They must fall back on mean-spirited and less than truthful attacks. And .,..what a disgrace – although not surprising – that the AAU employs someone with such intolerance for others.

  7. Turley’s blog motto – res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself) – explains all we need to know about Rhodes and its fake indignation.

  8. Is Woke communist propaganda spouted by useful idiots or kool aide served by communist autonomous individuals? It’s difficult to determine which is spouting off but the poison is easy to detect.

  9. There is no there word for our modern left but ‘ugly’. It has increased with each successive generation for the past several decades and we seem to be approaching the point where many of our young people are almost feral in their inability to function in open society. You can’t argue with a barking dog. There is no longer anything academic about any of this, the Rubicon of transcendence from the realm of sane reason has been crossed – that the presumably older and wiser in our universities seemingly give no thought whatsoever to the future ramifications and consequences of their actions is equally troubling.

    I actually do not personally believe that woke ideology will stand the test of time, and I honestly do not know what we are going to do with such a wide swath of utterly dysfunctional people in the future. One thing is certain: there is a gaping void where the soul of our higher institutions used to reside.

    1. I honestly do not know what we are going to do with such a wide swath of utterly dysfunctional people in the future.

      Yuri Bezmenov described what happens with them once their “usefulness” has ended.

      The useful idiots, the leftists who are idealistically believing in the beauty of the Soviet socialist or Communist or whatever system, when they get disillusioned, they become the worst enemies. That’s why my KGB instructors specifically made the point: never bother with leftists. Forget about these political prostitutes. Aim higher. […] They serve a purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your leftists in the United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed any more. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power—obviously they get offended—they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.

      1. “They will be lined up against the wall and shot.”
        That is a bit extreme.
        At the same time, I can see it happening.
        I hope not. That has other implications of the violent kind I do not want to see in America.

        1. Extreme? Absolutely. But it should be made clear, this is the historical outcome if the Left succeeds in ushering in their Marxist/Socialist worldview.

  10. The statement in the Rhodes Alumni letter just represents another pile of melted down progressives. These are really staring to stink up the landscape. Eventually we will need to refer this to the EPA where, for a change, they can do something really useful and clear these piles from the environment thereby improving the scenery and clearing the air of their noxious emanations.

  11. What Prof. Turley calls the Age of Rage, is also a time when people reveal how base, malicious and craven they are by behaving like spoiled brats in public. No penalties for this from their target audience: other malicious misfits preening as moral giants. Imagine how China, Russia and Iran regard the efforts of leftists to hobble and ultimately destroy American leadership in the world. In Lenin’s time the name for them was “useful idiots”.

  12. It took 10 years for China’ Cultural Revolution — with all its canceling, public shaming and irrationality — to end. This woke idiocy too will end some day, and the people who got suckered by it will read about themselves in history books. And not in a good way.

    1. They will not care. Those leftists that killed many in the ’60s, today show no regret. There is no morality among them. There are no specific ideas that must be carried through, except in the end, the left must win even if the nation is destroyed.

    1. Can the school get a cease & desist order on these baseless attacks because it harms their brand?

      1. It probably does not want to do so because those in administrative roles buy into this nonsense.

        1. These Leftist alums only prove they are indoctrinated and not educated. If they were truly educated, they would know their ideology is literally a dead end.

  13. Professor, that Lawyers trained at Rhodes hold the views expressed here shows they do not understand the concepts behind The Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court Are all their lawyers so afflicted?

    1. “. . . Lawyers trained at Rhodes . . .”

      Rhodes does not have a law school. Barrett went to ugrad there; law school at Notre Dame.

      But your point is taken.

      1. All colleges teach writing and rhetoric, though, so they all (are supposed to) teach, to some degree argumentation, persuasion, and logic. At least you’d think they would…

        1. Prairie Rose,
          “. . . so they all (are supposed to) teach, to some degree argumentation, persuasion, and logic. At least you’d think they would…”

          Reading the news today, I fear that time has passed.

          1. RE: ““. . . so they all (are supposed to) teach, to some degree argumentation, persuasion, and logic.” My grandson will enter USC this fall. His political persuasion is presently conservative. We shall see what is moulded out of this wet clay in fours years.

            1. If you are helping to fund your grandson, ZZ, insist that the funding come along with the requirement that he read one Thomas Sowell book a month. I think that is a better vaccine than the Pfizer vaccine.

              1. RE:”If you are helping to fund your grandson..” Unfortunately we don’t have that leverage. His college was fully funded by his father, an immensely financially successful “Harvard Brat’ in his own right, the day the boy was born.

  14. The left is successful in convincing the people that power comes FROM the government. Convincing the people that Politicians bear no responsibility for ANYTHING so keep re-electing the leeches.

    Why don’t these idiots understand they live under the RULES they want?

        1. Olly, you took the words right out of my mouth 🙂

          Just understand, sanctimonious, narcissistic pigs like these don’t come straight at you like Xerxes. They come in the middle of the night with phonied-up warrants and jackboots.

          Sleep with one eye open, Olly.

  15. So tired of angry lefties throwing public tantrums.

    Ugly people with mean streaks and a lust for publicity.

    And dishonest; inventing lies to attack their betters.

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