Even by the dismal standards of Supreme Court nomination battles when the would-be Supreme is a Republican, the attacks against Amy Coney Barrett have been repulsive. Perhaps because Barrett’s record is so impeccable — even her liberal peers laud her intelligence and integrity — the smears have focused on an area hitherto considered off-limits: the judge’s family.
Dana Houle, a Democratic activist and former chief of staff to former Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH), sent three tweets Friday questioning Barrett’s decision to adopt two children from earthquake-ravaged Haiti and insinuating the judge and her husband had perhaps acted unethically or illegally.
“I would love to know which adoption agency Amy Coney Barrett and her husband used to adopt the two children they brought here from Haiti,” Houle wrote. “So here’s a question: Does the press even investigate details of Barrett’s adoptions from Haiti?”
Houle wrote in a follow-up tweet: “Some adoptions from Haiti were legitimate. Many were sketchy as hell. And if the press learned they were unethical and maybe illegal adoptions, would they report it? Or not, because it involves her children?” Houle concluded: “Would it matter if her kids were scooped up by ultra-religious Americans, or Americans weren’t scrupulous intermediaries, and the kids were taken when there was family in Haiti? I dunno. I think it does, but maybe it doesn’t, or shouldn’t.”
Ibrahim Kendi, the critical-race-theory guru who is all the rage in corporate settings across the land, offered a similarly repulsive comment. He wrote: “Some white colonizers ‘adopted’ black children. They ‘civilized’ these children in the ‘superior’ ways of white people, while using them as props in their lifelong picture of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.”
Kendi went on to try to cover himself by insisting he wasn’t necessarily implying that the Barretts are guilty of such cultural crimes. He was just asking questions, you see. This was unconscionable, not least because the Barretts’ adopted children are old enough to read these remarks.
Then there were the attacks against Barrett as a bad mother. In addition to her two adopted children, Vivian and John Peter, Barrett has a son with Down syndrome named Benjamin — seven in total. You would think all people would cheer the fact that she and her husband have remained open to the love of children, even as they have pursued demanding professional careers — yet you would think wrong when it comes to the progressive left.
Vanessa Grigoriadis, a writer for Vanity Fair and New York magazine, wondered out loud: “I guess one of the things I don’t understand about Amy Comey [sic] Barrett is how a potential Supreme Court justice can also be a loving, present mom to seven kids? Is this like the Kardashians stuffing nannies in the closet and pretending they’ve drawn their own baths for their kids?” She went on: “And if there aren’t enough hours in the day for her to work and mother those kids, when she portrays herself as a home-centered Catholic who puts family over career, isn’t she telling a lie?”
For decades, the feminist left told women to seek “self-actualization” in professional careers, even at the expense of the joys of motherhood. Women bought the message and discovered they were miserable. In the last 20 years, as work opportunities have become flexible, however, many women have found ways to combine these two seemingly separate realms and make it work.
No, it isn’t easy. It takes discipline and time-management. But women like Barrett should be applauded — not scolded — for striking the balance. Yet the left presumes that adoption, and a household bursting with happy children, must be antithetical to success or good parenting.
But never mind the left’s hate. Standing alongside President Trump with her beautiful, mixed-race, blended family, accepting one of the most prestigious nominations the nation bestows on men and women, Barrett shone. It was clear Barrett’s role as a mother and an attorney, as G.K. Chesterson put it, has been “laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.”
Nicole Russell is a writer based in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, National Review and The Federalist. Twitter: @Russell_NM
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