Supreme Hypocrisy: Activists and Pundits Target Justice Barrett as “Religious Extremist”

Below is my column in the New York Post on the campaign to get Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis due to her religion.  The demand is entirely without merit but it is illustrative of the unrelenting and unhinged attacks on this distinguished jurist.  Previously, Democratic senators demanded Barrett’s recusal from pending cases on similarly frivolous grounds. Barrett remains the obsession for many on the left from campaigns to ban her books to protests at her home. She has done nothing to warrant such continual and personal attacks.

Here is the column:

Justice Amy Coney Barrett is facing increasing calls to recuse herself from a major Supreme Court case due to her religion. These absurd demands say less about the ethics of Barrett than the bias of her critics, who have waged an unrelenting and vicious campaign against the jurist and her family.

At issue is 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis’ Dec. 5 argument. Even before the court granted review, I noted it could be one of the most important free-speech cases in history. It involves a web designer who declines jobs for same-sex marriages over her religious beliefs.

Liberal academics and pundits have decried Barrett’s participation in the case because she has been part of the Christian group People of Praise, which holds traditional views of marriage and homosexuality. The media are quoting former members calling themselves “survivors” saying the group holds views that make it impossible for her to judge the case fairly.

Impossible, that is, if Barrett is willing to discard every principle of legal and judicial integrity she has maintained her entire career.

Justices routinely rule for individuals or groups that they find objectionable and even sinful. That is what jurists do when they take an oath requiring blind and equal justice.

While some have called for all the conservative justices to recuse themselves, the focus has been on Barrett. A petition with thousands of signatures declares, “Barett’s [sic] extremist religious views should have disqualified her from serving on the Supreme Court at all; but when it comes to this case in particular, it is obvious that she is far too biased to issue an impartial ruling and must recuse herself.”

Commentator Lindy Li objected, “Amy Coney Barrett refuses to recuse herself from an LGBT case, despite being paid 5 times by the anti-LGBT group involved,” referring to the legal nonprofit representing the petitioner. “Ketanji Brown Jackson recused herself from a Harvard case cuz she sits on its Board of Overseers. Barrett is a religious extremist, Jackson is a true Justice.”

The problem is that it’s called “the Harvard case” because Harvard is an actual party to the case, and the court is reviewing admission policies including the period on which Jackson sat on the board.

The reference to the Harvard case is also telling because many liberal academics and commentators insisted Jackson did not have to recuse herself despite what some of us saw as an obvious conflict of interest: She sat on a board that advises on admissions and oversees the Harvard’s operations. To her credit, Jackson recused herself.

This is different. Neither Barrett nor People of Praise has a connection to the case. Indeed, this is not even a religion-clause case. When the case came up from the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, challengers raised claims under both the First Amendment’s religion and free-speech clauses. As some of us had hoped, the court accepted only the free-speech claim for review.

Notably, those comparing Barrett with Jackson ignore that the latter has similar religious connections in her background. Jackson sat on the Montrose Christian School board in Rockville, Md. The school proclaimed “uncompromisingly” the gift of gender is part of the goodness of God’s creation,” Christians must oppose “all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography,” marriage is the “uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment” and Christians should “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.”

Yet those same individuals aren’t calling for Jackson’s recusal (which would be equally absurd). Indeed, the board position was a nonissue at Jackson’s confirmation.

The double standard is nothing new for Barrett and her family, who have faced repeated protests at their home, including demonstrations that must upset her young children. Protesters have distributed information on where her kids attend school. And many on the left want to block Barrett from giving her views publicly: Writers and editors are seeking to ban books by the jurist.

Some of the vilest abuse came in her confirmation as Democratic members and activists focused on her religion. Even her multiracial family was not spared offensive and racist attacks. Ibram X. Kendi, the director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, accused Barrett of acting like a “white colonizer” in adopting two Haitian children and suggested the kids were little more than props for their ambitious mother.

The media have reacted to these racist attacks, the calls for banning her book and the doxxing of her children with little more than a shrug when the target is a conservative jurist. After all, they insist, she is the extremist.

No, Justice Barrett will not recuse herself, and the Supreme Court is all the stronger for it.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.

69 thoughts on “Supreme Hypocrisy: Activists and Pundits Target Justice Barrett as “Religious Extremist””

  1. Jonathan: Riding to her defense again, you claim there are “unrelenting and unhinged attacks” on Justice Coney Barrett by those on the “left”. But calls for Coney Barrett to recuse herself in the Colorado case are also coming from former members of People of Praise who should know something about how this extreme Catholic sect treats not only women but its strong opposition to gay rights. If there ever was a case in which CB should recuse it’s this one. But she won’t because she aligns herself with Clarence Thomas who wouldn’t see a conflict of interest if it struck him across the back of the head.

    So CB will vote to permit a religious extremist to discriminate against gay couples. It’s the bakery case all over again. The conservative majority on the Court is increasingly finding itself outside the mainstream of public opinion. Back in September Gallop published a poll showing 94% of Americans support interracial marriage. 70% support same-sex marriage. On Tuesday the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) that protects same-sex and interracial marriage. The RFMA passed with a dozen GOP votes. 36 GOP Senators voted against–including Mitch McConnell who is in an interracial marriage. Poor Mitch. He is probably going to have to make other sleeping arrangements.

    But for you and the conservative Catholic majority on the Court it doesn’t matter what the American people think about abortion or gay rights. When it comes to religious orthodoxy the public be damned!

  2. “[T]he campaign to get Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself . . .” (JT)

    The only recusal needed in Washington is for Biden to recuse himself from any decisions involving China. He is clearly compromised.

    1. Just ̶i̶c̶e̶ Holmes:

      “She is a religious extremist! Get real.”
      She’s religious so to guys like you she’s an “extemist,” by definition. Believe me when I say most folks prefer the religous -even the extreme varierty – to the perverts, pedophiles, criminals and tyrants comprising the new Dim Party. As for “getting real” surely you know reality isn’t the Dims strong suit.

  3. All I can say anymore is thank you for shining a light, Professor and posters. Those like us are the last thin line.

    1. Nope, wrong on both counts.

      1. The decision was unreasonable and was politically determined–though I give kudos to the three judges for artfully concealing that fact in their opinion.

      2. I’m glad that Trump lost this legal round. Although Trump’s policies as President were generally sound, his judgments about people have been consistently stupid. For a guy who claims that he wanted to “drain the Swamp,” he consistently has appointed, or left in power, one Swamp creature after another, starting with his decision to leave Jim Comey to wreck more damages, to coverup artists like Bill Barr, and his judicial appointments. As for this specific opinion, Judge Grant was clearly from the Swamp, as she was originally pushed by George W. Bush and her husband was CIA. Judge Brasher worked by Judge Pryor, who was also pushed by both George W. Bush and Barrack Obama. Anybody who had the power that Trump did and yet put Swamp-players in key positions of power, deserves to get the Royal-Swamp treatment. And in the latest example of Trump’s abominal personal judgments about people, he invited Nazi-admirer and anti-Semite Kanye West over to his home, who, in turn invited a fellow Nazi-admiring anti-Semite, and then wonders why things didn’t turn out so well for him. So far, Trump doesn’t seem to have learned anything from his stupid personal judgments about people. But if he keeps getting “victimized” by his own stupid blunders about people, maybe he’ll wake up and start to associate with and hire/appoint people with sound values and integrity.

      1. Trump himself lacks sound values and integrity. He is incapable of what you wish.

        And no, the 3-judge panel was quite correct in its judgment, and they appropriately took Judge Cannon down a peg for her many errors. Let’s see whether Trump appeals to SCOTUS and loses there too.

        1. “Trump himself lacks sound values and integrity.”
          And yet major banks will loan him hundreds of millions of dollars.

          I do not know about you – but I do not loan people money I do not trust.

          “He is incapable of what you wish.”
          What I wish is for the much better governance we have from 2017-2020.
          Trump inarrguably can deliver that.
          Biden obviously has failed.

          “And no, the 3-judge panel was quite correct in its judgment, and they appropriately took Judge Cannon down a peg for her many errors.”
          Both incorrect, and not their job.
          Cannon is the presiding judge over the case. Most of her decisions are not apealable until AFTER the are final.
          It was wrong for the panel to even accept the case.
          You can not say Cannon did not follow the law or procedure – when YOU are not following the law or procedure.

          There are some complexities, because there is atleast one minor matter DOJ raised that was appealable at the time,
          And DOJ may have even been arguably right on that SPECIFIC issue.
          But the appeals court illegitimately went well beyond that into domain that they do not currently have jurisdiction over.

          I would note that the Special Master – is just an advisor to the court. It is the NORMAL way to do this.
          But Cannon can Toss Deary if she wishes and do the job herself, however she wishes to do it.
          There is no law covering precisely how the court should go through the material.

          “Let’s see whether Trump appeals to SCOTUS and loses there too.”

          I doubt SCOTUS will hear it. Despite the error on the appeals court the matter is not significant, it will not effect the outcome.

          Ultimately this case is a loser for the DOJ.
          An indictment would have to be in FL,
          The trial would have to be in FL.
          The Judge would be Cannon.

          And presuming the FBI leaks that WaPo reported are correct – FBI has no motive, no evidence that Trump did anything nefarious with the documents. No one as of yet has provided proof or even a claim he obtained them nefariously.

          The far more dangerous case for Trump is the J6 nonsense.
          While that is complete garbage with respect to an actual crime or evidence.
          The jurisdiction will be DC.
          And it is already self evident that DC courts and juries are lawless.
          No matter how egregiously stupid any case in DC is, Trump will likely have to take it to the Supreme Court to restore sanity and the rule of law.

          1. You are not paid to edit your word vomits. I am not paid to wade through them. Ta ta.

            1. I think John’s analysis (Feldman’s as well) is excellent. Both provided simple explanations where you are free to agree or not. What you cannot respond to or understand is your problem, not theirs. You seem to have a lot to say but cannot defend your positions except with empty insulting comments.

            2. You have the constitutional right to remain as stupid as you wish.
              To close your eyes and ears to the facts, and the law.

              But you do not have the right to use force against others based on your stupid and false beleifs.

    2. The very first line of the decision is OBVIOUSLY error.

      This is just stupid.
      Absolutely district courts have the power to enjoin the use of evidence obtained by allegedly lawful warrants.
      It happens all the time.
      Just because the warrant is lawful – which itself is an assumption, does not mean the evidence obtained is admissible.
      And it is ALWAYS withing the jurisdiction of the trial court to determine that.

      First and foremost Trump has made a variety of claims of privilege – those are ALWAYS adjudicated by the trial court BEFORE the evidence is provided to the government.
      Appeals courts cannot Review the trial courts decision UNTIL the trial court has actually made a decision.

      But the 2nd claim is that significant portions of what the FBI took was NOT responsive to the warrant.
      And by everything we have seen so far that appears to be true.

      While the government is given reasonable latitude to ALSO take evidence of other crimes that it encounters while LEGITIMATELY conducting a search for what it specifies in the warrant. The Government is NOT permitted to just assume that anything it wishes to take is “evidence of a crime” The Warrant is REQUIRED by the constitution to be SPECIFIC as to what is being searched for, where will be searched, and the alleged crime. The alleged crimes in the Warrant are all espionage act violations, therefore the DOJ/FBI is limited to actually classified documents.
      That is a very small portion of what was taken. Absent a credible claim that something the saw during the search was CLEARLY evidence of another crime. No such allegation exists. Everything but the allegedly classified documents must be returned.

      But more importantly – all the above is the domain of Judge Cannon, and is NOT reviewable by a higher court until Cannon has issued a FINAL order.

      Even if per chance Cannon actually erred – the Apelate court has no jurisdiction yet.

  4. “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    1. You are one of the most discordant commenters here. I think you like your injurious tendency.

  5. The singular America failure has been and remains the Supreme Court which has allowed the gradual, inexorable nullification of the Constitution.

    The Supreme Court has not only enjoyed the powers of Judicial Review since 1803, it has an imperative and consequential duty to exercise them.

    The Supreme Court recently decided that abortion is not a constitutional right.

    The Supreme Court must now decide that the entire unconstitutional communist American welfare state is not a constitutional right.

    Marbury v. Madison, legal case in which, on February 24, 1803, the U.S. Supreme Court first declared an act of Congress unconstitutional, thus establishing the doctrine of judicial review. The court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice John Marshall, is considered one of the foundations of U.S. constitutional law.

    – Britannica

    Judicial Review in the United States

    The legitimacy of judicial review and the judge’s approach to judicial review are discussed.

    The doctrine of judicial review holds that the courts are vested with the authority to determine the legitimacy of the acts of the executive and the legislative branches of government.

    – DOJ, Office of Justice Programs

  6. And the latest antithetical, unconstitutional, hyphenate, affirmative action project, recipient of progressive education, non-biologist and counterintuitive candidate from a diminutively proficient pool of merely 12% of the U.S. population on the communist (liberal, progressive, socialist, democrat, RINO, AINO) Supreme Court, nay, Inferior Court, could not and did not define the word “woman.”

  7. They just want their religion to enslave the rest of us much like Pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews, Woke zealots groom little boys and little girls and the Left sacrifice newborn babies by decapitation. Observe the hateful insults of the Left on here insulting JT daily all because they want everyone to bend a knee to their gods which is them

    1. Hear, hear!

      And the Israelite slaves were out of Egypt before the ink was dry on their release papers.

      Of course, they had the aspiration, capacity and acumen sufficient to the task.

      Would they Egyptians be allowing the Israelite slaves to “petition the government for a redress of grievances” to this day?


  8. Turley says: “She has done nothing to warrant such continual and personal attacks.” You mean, other than LIE about stare decisis and how she would handle a challenge to Roe during her confirmation hearings? She was chosen, not because of her jurisprudential skills, but rather, after extensive vetting by the Federalist Society. Her purpose for being on the SCOTUS is NOT to be an impartial arbiter of the facts and law, but to practice her religion, which is far-right of the majority of Americans. and even the majority of Catholics, who support a woman’s right to choose. Why shouldn’t Americans object to this religious zealot being shoved down their throats for a lifetime appointment by someone who cheated to get into office, whose nomination was allowed by a Republican Senate majority leader who denied the previous (and legitimately-elected) POTUS his right to nominate a Justice? Her presence on the SCOTUS is wrong. The fact that she LIED to get onto the Court should be reason enough for impeachment.

    1. NUTCHACHACHA, can we get rid of unconstitutional affirmative action yet or do ya’all still need it to function in society?

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