- The Magazine
Pete Buttigieg delivered a powerful response to Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s opening statement ahead of her U.S. Senate confirmation hearings.
Barrett, a social conservative with a history of anti-LGBTQ statements, was nominated by Donald Trump to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.
Ahead of the confirmation hearings, which began today, Oct. 12, Barrett issued the transcript of her opening statement to the Senate, and said that courts “have a vital responsibility to enforce the rule of law.”
“Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” she added. “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People. The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”
Barrett’s words echo those of Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who recently argued that the Supreme Court had bypassed the democratic process in its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
Her opening statement transcript was released while Buttigieg, the openly gay former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and former Democratic presidential candidate, was giving an interview on MSNBC’s AM Joy.
Buttigieg was speaking about National Coming Out Day, but was asked to give his opinion on Barrett’s statement, Out reports.
“This is what nominees do,” Buttigieg said. “They write the most seemingly unobjectionable, dry stuff. But really what I see in there is a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility.”
He continued: “At the end of the day, rights in this country have been expanded because courts have understood what the true meaning of the letter of the law and the spirit of the constitution is. That is not about time-traveling yourself back to the 18th century and subjecting yourself to the same prejudices and limitations as the people who write these words.
“The constitution is a living document because the English language is a living language. And you need to have some readiness to understand that in order to serve on the court in a way that will actually make life better,” Buttigieg said.
“It was actually Thomas Jefferson himself who said that ‘We might as well ask a man to still wear the coat which fitted him when he was a boy as expect future generations to live under’ — what he called — ‘the regime of their barbarous ancestors,'” Buttigieg added.
“So even the founders that these kind of dead hand originalists claim fidelity to understood better than their ideological descendants — today’s judicial so-called conservatives — the importance of keeping with the times. And we deserve judges and justices who understand that.”
Watch his response below:
— AM Joy on MSNBC (@amjoyshow) October 11, 2020
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