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Craig Mastantuono and Jeff Mandell: Barrett does not value survivors of abuse

Craig Mastantuono and Jeff Mandell: Barrett does not value survivors of abuse

Huge political battles are nothing new to America. We fought a Civil War over our differences, killing hundreds of thousands of our countrymen. So when people say “we’ve never been so divided,” it doesn’t ring quite true.

But there is something different about this moment. Our most bedrock institutions are being attacked, seemingly like never before. Even in the Civil War, it seems our government functioned.

As members of the American Constitution Society (ACS), our attorneys promote the rights of all Americans to ensure constitutional order is maintained. We’ve always had faith in our legal system and in the moral arc of the universe bending towards justice. The U.S. Supreme Court desegregated schools, granted each of us the right to one person, one vote, and ensured that each of us could marry the person we fall in love with.

Now, the chances of our U.S. Supreme Court rapidly taking us backwards is greater than ever. We’ve never been more disappointed with a Supreme Court candidate than Judge Amy Coney Barrett. She gained a seat on the Circuit Court of Appeals because Mitch McConnell ignored the nomination of a qualified Black woman.

Overturning his own precedent, McConnell is rushing Barrett through a sham process while information on some of her dangerous rulings continues to come out.

One clear example is Shonda Martin’s case here in Wisconsin. Shonda was incarcerated and repeatedly raped by a prison guard while pregnant and after giving birth. Judge Barrett ruled against Martin and said the guard’s employer bore no responsibility, voting to reverse a Milwaukee federal judge’s ruling allowing the case to move forward and a verdict by a Wisconsin jury.

With that ruling, Judge Barrett chose to devalue the lives of women and survivors of sexual violence. She demonstrated an extreme view of the law and liability. Martin was left behind, and Barrett tacitly acknowledged a mistake by later siding with an assault victim in a similar case from another county.

Barrett and her Republican allies took for granted the recently concluded hearings that are intended to shed light on a nominee. Barrett refused to acknowledge simple facts, like whether or not it is a crime to intimidate voters (spoiler: it is.) She refused to acknowledge the existence of climate change. She pretended not to have a view on Roe v. Wade despite many earlier writings attacking the right of women to control their own healthcare. 

It is clear that Amy Coney Barrett does not value survivors or stand with women. Her view of the law is extreme, out of the mainstream and intends to advance a right-wing agenda. The Senate must defer a vote on this Supreme Court seat until after the next presidential inauguration in January.

Craig Mastantuono is a Milwaukee attorney and chair of the Milwaukee ACS Lawyer Chapter. Jeff Mandell is a Madison attorney and chair of the Madison ACS Lawyer Chapter.

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