Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court whose nomination was rammed through the Senate by then-Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on Sunday told guests invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, “My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks."
She was roundly criticized and mocked for that claim, which was reported by the Louisville Courier Journal.
Barrett was nominated immediately after liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, before she had even been buried. She was confirmed one week before the November 2020 election in a 52-48 vote, entirely on party lines, and sworn in the very next day, all thanks to the efforts of Senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell in 2016 infamously blocked President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from even getting a committee hearing, then pushed through Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh before Barrett's nomination.
Here's Senator McConnell celebrating Barrett's confirmation, which indeed was on former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's birthday:
The court now sits with a 6-3 highly-conservative majority, and some across the country feel several of the conservatives have flouted judicial ethics by weighing in on issues, directly or in directly. Justice Clarence Thomas's wife, Ginni Thomas, is a far right wing lobbyist who used to run a Tea Party organization. She is believed to have had a hand in President Donald Trump's expulsion of transgender service members from the U.S. Armed Forces. And Justice Kavanaugh, during his Senate confirmation hearing, infamously threatened revenge against Democrats.
In fact, as Amy Coney Barrett was being sworn in, The New Republic published an opinion piece stating she and Justice Kavanaugh "have demonstrated this week that they should be thought of as political operatives, not justices."
Barrett of course brought this perception on herself, allowing her nomination to be pushed through in the weeks before a highly controversial presidential election, appearing at a super-spreader event at the White House celebrating her nomination, then later standing on the White House balcony with President Trump, days before the election, all of which effectively worked as an endorsement of his re-election.
L.A. Times columnist Jackie Calmes noted at the time just how unprecedented this single act was:
Many are mocking Barrett's claim.
"also I sure hope no one sees my interview from 2016 where I acted as a GOP surrogate and argued that replacing a dead Justice in an election year with someone ideologically different is simply wrong" https://t.co/eY5REPrUrj
— I Need a New Name (@warybear) September 13, 2021