CC: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Dear Judge Barrett,
Congratulations on your nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States! You must be ecstatic! What greater plum could an ambitious jurist wish for, unless it’s Chief Justice? You’ll just have to wait your turn, if that is on your agenda.
So be a good sport and chill for the time being. Ask Donald Trump to give you a rain check. For the sake of the Republic. You see, you and those who vote to confirm you will be judged by present and future Americans according to how well your ascension to the highest court in the land serves the tattered remnants of our so-called republic, so please listen up.
We don’t care what an accomplished legal scholar or nice person you are; all we know is that you are being used in the most high-handed way and that this ought to disturb anyone who believes in fair play and the rule of law.
It will, after all, be up to you and your colleagues on the high court to adjudicate whether governmental authority has been overreached, either by the Executive, Congress, or the judiciary, including your very own precious Supreme Court. This, as you may know, has happened, and more so recently.
This is supremely important. For decades, our presidents have inexorably extended the reach of their decision-making authority until almost any executive order is generally deemed legitimate. President Trump has hollowed out the constitution time and time again by abrogating to himself the authority to, for example, terminate the DACA program, grab portions of federal agency budgets to build a wall at the Mexican Border using funds Congress did not appropriate for such a purpose, and send federal law enforcement agents to arrest legitimate protestors over the objection of local authorities.
Are you okay with unlimited executive prerogatives? Is the pliant acquiescence of the Republican-controlled senate to whatever the President may demand (such as ramming through your appointment scant weeks before a presidential election) prima facie an exercise in legitimate constitutional as well as moral authority?
Most people’s moral political compass would point toward declining this nomination and tell the President to try again once he is re-elected. That would be the honorable thing to do. That would comfort the nation. You must clearly understand that quick confirmation of your nomination is expeditious for the administration and its allies. Do you want to be a pawn in their game? What self-respecting person would stand to be used in such a manner?
Your deeply held beliefs may have real and possibly adverse consequence for our loved ones and descendants, but that’s not our real problem. What’s truly upsetting is that you would allow yourself to be used to further an authoritarian agenda on behalf of a president who is loyal only to himself, his pocketbook, and his overreaching ambitions. You know who Donald Trump is, that he has failed the Americans he claims to represent, and has no respect for the rule of any law he takes exception to, so why would you stand for his and Mitch McConnell’s end run around tradition and due process, even if it advances your career?
End this charade. Find a way to bow out. We suggest going through the confirmation process and then withdrawing before being sworn in. No need to explain; simply cite personal reasons. If you don’t and go on to take your seat on the bench you will have contributed to hastening the end of democracy in our republic and history will not judge you kindly.
One Hundred Million Americans
September 27, 2020; updated October 7, 2020