Susan Atkin: Lee’s idea of judges threatens ‘We the People’

(Photo courtesy of Sen. Mike Lee's office) Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett meets with Utah Sen. Mike Lee in his office on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020.

Dear Sen. Lee,

Obviously being a Federalist Society political and ideological warrior brings you great joy, and the exuberance you express toward your new judicial action-figure is palpable.

Four years ago, for a different reason, your enthusiasm was also off the charts. Using your super-duper constitutional interpretive skills, you justified bypassing Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court nominee, saying at the time, “In light of the contentious presidential election already well underway, we will not have any hearings or votes on President [Barack] Obama’s pick,” concluding it would be a “waste of time.”

Yet now you and your senatorial society cabal are intent on filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat at lightning speed, all whilst the country is embroiled in the most contentious election in its history, not to mention a worldwide pandemic and civil unrest. I find something troubling, perhaps even nefarious about your shifting positions and your eagerness.

Quoting a recent Politico article, “[Donald] Trump is president for a long list of reasons, of course, but near the top of that list is the imprimatur the Federalist Society granted him. He almost certainly could not have gotten what he wanted without the Federalists. And they almost certainly couldn’t have gotten what they wanted without him.”

During Trump’s first term, Mitch McConnell’s Senate became a factory for churning out a record 216 Federalist Society judges. The confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett will complete the takeover of the Supreme Court by the society with six out of nine justices being members. For generations to come, Americans will be at the mercy of this court.

They will be the ones, who through their Federalist glasses, will divine who is and who is not included in the words “We the People.”

It is no secret the organization’s mission is to relitigate Supreme Court rulings concerning states' rights, individual liberty, traditional values and the rule of law. Consequently, the Affordable Care Act, Roe v. Wade, LGBTQ rights, even the Americans with Disabilities Act will be in the judicial crosshairs.

Many of the Federalist Society legal warriors advocate striking down the landmark Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. Board of Education on the basis that it took away a state’s right to enforce Jim Crow laws.

The Federalist Society ideology and rhetoric have emboldened and given credence to an unprecedented rise of white supremacy groups, armed militias and conspiracy theorists.

A few weeks ago “St. George Patriots” were compelled to arm themselves and take to the streets, complete with Confederate flags and Trump banners. They spent an afternoon spewing racist hate and conspiratorial rhetoric, all because an online rumor led them to believe a Black Lives Matter bus was coming to their town. The bus never came.

Under your jurisprudence, Sen. Lee, these angry, triggered, racist citizens have become the base and face of the Republican Party. If this behavior makes you proud of your constituents, then Trump would like you to “stand back and stand by.”

Sen. Lee, if your own words from 2016 will not persuade you to wait until after the election to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, then you should do it for the good of the nation.

What is needed right now are leaders committed to establishing Justice, ensuring domestic Tranquility, promoting the general Welfare, and securing the Blessings of Liberty. We do not need a stacked court to define who “We the People” are. “We the People” are the electorate, and I implore you to take your knee off our neck.

Susan Atkin

Susan Atkin, West Valley City, is a retired high school chemistry teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and registered Republican.