You can tell from this Washington Post article that Amy Coney Barrett sailed through her confirmation hearings in fine form. The Post is forced to acknowledge that Barrett was a hit among Catholic women. Thus, it falls back on attacking President Trump and GOP Senators for using Barrett for political purposes.
The Post didn’t survey Catholic women for its article. It handpicked a few of them.
Two are professors. Another, the Post describes as “a key Obama supporter.” Another, it describes as “a sociologist” and a “Black, feminist Catholic.”
These are not your average Catholic woman in the street interviewees.
The Catholic woman to whom the Post gives the most space is a mother of seven from South Bend, Indiana, where Judge Barrett went to law school and taught. She sounds like she might be “typical.” But at the end of the article we learn that she voted for an anti-Trump third party candidate in 2016.
It’s always instructive to hear from the Jill Stein crowd.
The consensus among these handpicked women is that Barrett is remarkably accomplished. How could they conclude otherwise?
The Jill Stein supporter said, “I seriously so admire her story.” Another interviewee said, “I’ve never met her, but she feels like an old friend.” Barrett’s story “makes me feel justified as a Catholic woman, because she’s someone who was true to her faith, and also has a very successful career,” she added.
But there’s a catch. Republican patriarchs are using Barrett.
The Jill Stein supporter complained that President Trump is exploiting the nomination to try to win over Catholic suburban women. She also expressed frustration that GOP Senators continued to bring up Barrett’s large family. “You just know that if it was a father of 7 up for nomination they wouldn’t be doing that,” she whined.
Picking up on the latter point, the feminist professors find that the patriarchs are presenting an unrealistic model of what Catholic women should be. One of them put it this way:
She’s like a new-wave Virgin Mary where you can have it all. You can be a virgin and be a mom. You can be super successful in your career and be a perfect, submissive wife. It’s pedestalizing the impossible.
I don’t know where the part about virginity and submission came from. When you’re a lefty professor you just make stuff up.
Another professor moaned that the confirmation process depicted an image of what it means to be “an archetypal Catholic woman in America.” She felt that GOP Senators, by emphasizing Barrett’s family, were “communicating to the American public what kind of woman belong[s] [on the Supreme Court].”
But there’s an obvious difference between noting that Barrett has had an amazing career while raising a large family and “communicating” that raising a large family is a prerequisite, or even a preferred attribute, for membership on the Supreme Court. If Bret Kavanaugh had been a war hero, his supporters on the committee would have emphasized it. That wouldn’t have signaled that men on the Court should be war heroes.
Race makes its obligatory appearance in the Post’s article. One of the professors complained that Latina Catholics have long been negatively stereotyped for having many children. “It’s a social burden when it’s a Black or brown family, if it’s a White family in the Midwest, it’s a beautiful symbol of Catholicism,” she explained.
I’m not aware of any conservatives complaining about large families except in cases where they actually do create a social burden.
The real news in the Post’s story is, as I said, the near absence of criticism of Judge Barrett from even leftist Catholic women. The grievances they expressed were with President Trump, male GOP Senators, and society in general.
To a lesser degree, that’s been the approach of Senate Democrats, too. Maybe the Post received the memo.