Amy Coney Barrett Joked About Abortion Rights Protesters at Right-Wing Gala

"It’s really nice to have a lot of noise made not by protesters outside of my house," she recently said. It was also nice to have reproductive rights, Amy.

Amy Coney Barrett Joked About Abortion Rights Protesters at Right-Wing Gala
Photo:Win McNamee (Getty Images)

Almost five months ago, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the five other conservative justices to end Roe v. Wade and unleash hell on women, pregnant-capable people, and the American health system. And now she’s got jokes about it.

On Thursday, Barrett attended an annual gala for conservative lawyers hosted by the far-right legal group, the Federalist Society—the organization that hand-picked Barrett and a majority of former President Trump’s other judicial picks—as an honorary speaker. After being introduced, Fox News reports that Barrett was met with a standing ovation, to which she responded: “It’s really nice to have a lot of noise made not by protesters outside of my house.” The applause intensified.

Barrett, like the other conservative justices, faced an onslaught of pro-abortion rights protesters in the immediate aftermath of the leaked court documents revealing the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe. In Barrett’s case, protesters outside her home are often dressed in Handmaid’s Tale costumes—an allusion to both her regressive political values and her history of involvement in an extremist religious group.

I’d say the real joke is that Barrett, like her colleague Samuel Alito, sees herself as the victim of her own ghoulish legal decision-making that’s reduced pregnant people in a handful of states to government-controlled baby ovens. It seems it wasn’t enough to fulfill a decades-long, right-wing fever dream that the conservative justices spent their careers striving toward, against the will of most Americans—they also need us to like them and show them more respect than they’ve ever shown us.

Yes, protesters who hold zero state power over the justices wield signs and peacefully protest outside the court, or, yes, outside justices’ homes sometimes (and at their steakhouses of choice), because the justices are deeply unpopular. In contrast, abortion providers have actually been killed by protesters, and providers and their patients are being threatened with jail time.

But the Supreme Court has proven disinterested in “safety” concerns that don’t affect them, personally: In a 2014 ruling, the court determined that abortion clinics had no legal right to protect themselves with buffer zones to block violent anti-abortion protesters.

Abortion-rights activists march near Barrett’s home on June 18, 2022, in Falls Church, Virginia. Photo:Getty Images

Barrett, I’d argue, is especially worthy of protest: In 2018, while serving as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, she overturned a jury award to a teenager who was allegedly raped in jail by a guard. She formerly held a leadership position in a small, extremist religious group in which sexual abuse was reportedly rampant. None of this is separable from her recent decision to overturn Roe—a rash of abortion bans across the country lack rape exceptions, prompting child rape victims as young as 10 to be forced to travel across state lines for abortion. Survivors have been especially impacted by abortion bans, which naturally parallel sexual violence in denying pregnant people agency and dignity.

Of course, no amount of suffering Barrett and her colleagues inflict on others will ever change their minds. Yes, people will die as a result of abortion bans and forced pregnancy—but because some of us have the nerve to dislike them, the justices see themselves as the real victims.

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