While there have been unpleasant exceptions, most of the Democrats in the Senate have taken a less confrontational approach to the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett thus far. For example, Kamala Harris primarily spent her time excoriating President Trump during her opening remarks, giving the impression of being a bit more subtle in her direct attacks on the nominee herself. But the media is busy finding other ways to try to sully Barrett’s name. The Guardian managed to dredge up a woman who went to the same high school as her and was willing to pen an op-ed about how she “hopes” that Barrett won’t be confirmed. The title really says it all. Amy Coney Barrett went to my all-girls high school. I hope she’s not confirmed. If she gets a thumbs down from an old high school chum, that’s a compelling argument against her, right? Not so fast. We’ll see why in a moment.
Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s nominee for the US supreme court, went to my all-girls Catholic high school. We wore the same black-and-white plaid skirts and saddle oxfords and roamed the same halls, although nearly a decade apart. As students at St Mary’s Dominican High School, along with an education rooted in the Catholic faith, we were encouraged to be strong, independent women, future leaders of the world. I would be proud to see a fellow alum serve on our highest court if that person’s presence didn’t threaten to irrevocably harm the lives of millions of Americans.
We didn’t have a mascot at Dominican, only an emblem: Veritas. In Latin, truth. But the truth is not monolithic – it is informed by our belief systems. How we define the truth matters, especially for someone serving on the supreme court.
The implication one might draw from the title of the piece is that the author, Lisa M O’Neill, went to school with Barrett and would therefore have some sort of personal insight into her character. She might even know of a few skeletons in the candidate’s closet. But look closely at the final phrase in the second sentence of her screed. After pointing out how they wore the same school uniform and walked the same halls, she slips in the words “although nearly a decade apart.”
O’Neill didn’t go to school with the nominee. In fact, there’s no indication that the two of them ever even met. They simply attended the same Catholic school. That doesn’t give her any more insight into the character of Barrett than anyone else in the country.
Further, as Alexandra DeSanctis points out at National Review, the author clearly has an agenda. O’Neill boasts upfront about having attended an all-girls Catholic school, but she has since parted ways with her Catholic faith and become an advocate for abortion rights and the rest of the feminist agenda that she believes Barrett’s presence on the court will endanger.
Among O’Neill’s specific concerns are “the lives of women and all those with uteruses when Barrett has referred to abortion as ‘always immoral’” and “the lives of LGBTQ+ families when Barrett defended supreme court dissenters on the landmark marriage equality case Obergefell v Hodges.”
Wielding her “I was once a Catholic” card, O’Neill criticizes Barrett for her involvement in the lay Christian group People of Praise, implying that her membership proves she has an authoritarian worldview and wants women to “play subservient roles” — an especially ludicrous assertion considering that Barrett is only in the public eye at the moment because she’s accepted a nomination to the highest court in the land.
Even if they had managed to find a woman who actually did attend school with Barrett and knew her during that period of their lives, I wouldn’t have been shocked to see such an attack. I have it on good authority from my wife (who graduated from an all-girls college) that you can pick any such woman in the country, go interview their fellow students from the past and find some “mean girls” who are willing to trash-talk them. It seems to be one of the defining differences between the genders in their teenage years.
But this op-ed is even worse. Playing the “I went to the same school” card purchases you no special status as an expert on the history and character of the nominee. This pointless op-ed is nothing more than a boilerplate feminist screed against someone the author knows nothing about beyond what’s she’s read in liberal media outlets. And since she’s clearly decided to go to war with the Catholic church, her opinions can be safely disregarded as pure bias.