Two liberal groups say that 5,000 lawyers—more than 100 of them law professors and 13 of them judges—signed a letter to U.S. senators on Friday, condemning Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court as a “sham” and a threat to the “fundamental rights” of all Americans.
The first group, Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG), has billed itself online as the “legal arm of the #resistance,” whose mission is to “protect and strengthen democratic institutions, resist abuse of power and corruption, and defend the rights of all those who suffer in the absence of ‘good government.'” The second group, Alliance for Justice (AFJ), is a progressive judicial advocacy organization with more than 100 members groups. Among those member organizations are the Abortion Care Network (ACN), the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) and the National Abortion Federation (NAF).
The letter said that Barrett’s confirmation would, at worst, enable the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and, at best, “erode critical rights and legal protections.”
“Judge Barrett has an extreme ideology, and we have grave concerns that, if confirmed, she will erode critical rights and legal protections for millions of Americans,” the letter said. “For example, since Roe v. Wade, women in the United States have had the constitutional right to an abortion. But Donald Trump has made it clear that every judge he nominates will automatically overturn Roe.”
“Judge Barrett has repeatedly criticized Roe, and has made it clear she does not believe a Supreme Court justice should follow precedent that is in conflict with her understanding of the Constitution,” the letter continued. “Her confirmation to the Supreme Court will be devastating to millions of women in this country.”
The letter presumed that Barrett’s confirmation would mean the end of Obamacare (the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on the Trump administration’s attempt to eliminate Obamacare one week after the election).
“The Affordable Care Act protects 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions including the seven million Americans who tested positive for COVID-19, but Donald Trump has promised that any judge he nominates will overturn the ACA,” the letter went on. “We are deeply troubled that Judge Barrett has repeatedly argued that the Supreme Court should have done just that.”
Most legal experts have so far predicted, however, that SCOTUS will reject lower court determinations that the Affordable Care Act cannot stand without the individual mandate. In other words, it is believed that SCOTUS will rule that the rest of the health care law is severable (or salvageable) without the individual mandate.
The groups said that Senate Republicans are rushing to ram through Barrett’s nomination in a “sham process,” depriving both Congress and the American people of necessary time to “review a nominee’s record and determine their fitness for a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”
L4GG President president Traci Feit Love said in a statement that Barrett’s rushed confirmation “will cause irreparable damage to the public’s faith in the Supreme Court, the rule of law, and our democracy.”
AFJ President Nan Aron suggested that the “virtually unprecedented” number of undersigned lawyers on a letter of this kind speaks to the urgency of the moment.
“As people who have devoted their careers to the pursuit of justice and upholding our Constitution, they have made clear that a vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strip away health care protections from millions, eviscerate protections for those with preexisting conditions, overturn Roe, and dismantle civil rights,” Aron said. “The legal community is speaking out, and they are no doubt the tip of the iceberg.”
The press release said that this letter was the “largest known lawyer opposition letter to a Supreme Court nominee.” Law&Crime has obtained a version of the letter that includes a list with all of the names of the undersigned. The document spans 394 pages.
Read the letter in full below:
[Image via OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images]
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