Law & the Courts

Even the Girl Scouts Abandon Justice Barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., October 21, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)
The message to our young girls is clear: Your success matters only if you subscribe to a certain type of progressive feminism.

Yesterday, the Girl Scouts congratulated Justice Amy Coney Barrett on her confirmation. Then, they deleted the tweet. Apparently, it is too “partisan” for the Girl Scouts to congratulate Justice Barrett on becoming only the fifth woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court since 1789.

The tragic irony for our nation’s young girls is that the “too partisan” label runs one way. The Girl Scouts’ organization just hosted an event about encouraging women to run for office — and the panelists were all liberal. On President Trump’s inauguration day in January 2017, moreover, the Girl Scouts retweeted Hillary Clinton, thanking her for continuing to lead. It’s hard to imagine a more partisan statement at a more political time.

The Girl Scouts have no qualms about promoting progressive women and their ideas, and yet, somehow congratulating the fifth woman to ever become a Supreme Court Justice — a role that, by the way, is supposed to be non-political — is “too partisan.”

Even more on point, in March 2019, the Girl Scouts praised Justices O’Connor, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan as inspiring role models who broke gender barriers.

And this September, the Girl Scouts publicly mourned the late Justice Ginsburg as “a fierce and devoted advocate for women and girls everywhere.”

Even though one might not agree with many of Justice Ginsburg’s decisions, the Girl Scouts were right to honor her memory and legacy. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s achievements, intellect, and personal story are inspirational. It is infuriating to think that, after graduating at the top of her Ivy League law school class, she (like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before her) found it difficult to obtain a job in the law.

Justice Barrett is similarly accomplished. She is a stellar academic, accomplished jurist, and loving wife and mother to seven children—including four daughters. Every single member of her Supreme Court law clerk class and of the Notre Dame law faculty supported her nomination to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Like the four female justices before her, Barrett has broken gender barriers and is an inspiring role model for girls nationwide.

Yet the Girl Scouts are not the only group to sweep Barrett’s success aside because of her conservative views. Barrett’s sorority, Kappa Delta, posted a lukewarm tweet congratulating their former alumna, and then, you guessed it, deleted the post as “hurtful to many.” Meanwhile, some 1,500 Rhodes College alumni took the college to task for their apparent embrace of Barrett and attacked the justice personally, writing that her record was “diametrically opposed to the values of truth, loyalty, and service that we learned at Rhodes.” You read that right: From the perspective of those on the left, a successful conservative woman is somehow “hurtful to many” and “opposed to the values of truth, loyalty, and service.”

With respect to diversity of ideas, it is the right that has been more gracious. Upon the passing of Justice Ginsburg, President Trump released a statement praising her as a “titan of the law,” renowned for her brilliant mind and remarkable life. Conservative legal organizations offered up moments of silence in her honor, and legal commentators across the spectrum celebrated her life and legacy.

Is it too much to ask that we also celebrate the irrefutable accomplishments of Justice Amy Coney Barrett? In her confirmation hearings (hearings in which she impressively did not use a single note), Barrett made clear that she is a fair and open-minded jurist who will be faithful to the rule of law and to the Constitution. Yet organizations that are supposed to promote the advancement of young women and girls apparently believe that her personal religious faith and conservative beliefs disqualify her from being a role model to women.

Sadly, the message to our young girls is clear: Your success matters only if you subscribe to a certain type of progressive feminism. Justice Ginsburg, who looked forward to the day when more women would sit on the Supreme Court, women who did not necessarily look like her, would be appalled. We should be too.

Erin Hawley is a senior legal fellow at the Independent Women's Law Center, a senior fellow at the Kinder Institute for Constitutional Law, and a former clerk to Chief Justice John Roberts.

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