Former Democratic Presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg has slammed Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, just minutes after the start of her Senate confirmation hearings.
While appearing on AM Joy Sunday morning, Buttigieg responded in real-time to Coney Barrett quoting her mentor, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in claiming, in essence, that courts do not have the power to make social change.
“A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were,” Coney Barrett said. “Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like. But as he put it in one of his best-known opinions, that is what it means to say we have a government of laws, not of men.”
In other words, Coney Barrett had made a subtle attack on certain court decisions including the Obergefell v. Hodges decision which legalized marriage equality. By arguing that justices must follow the literal wording of a law–regardless of when it was written–she, in essence, abdicated the court’s responsibility toward social justice.
Buttigieg didn’t take kindly to Coney Barrett’s remarks. “This is what nominees do,” Buttigieg responded. “They write the most seemingly unobjectionable, dry stuff. But really what I see in there is a pathway to judicial activism cloaked in judicial humility.”
“At the end of the day, rights in this country have been expanded because courts have understood what the true meaning of the letter of the law and the spirit of the constitution is,” Buttigieg said. “That is not about time-traveling yourself back to the 18th century and subjecting yourself to the same prejudices and limitations as the people who write these words. The constitution is a living document because the English language is a living language. And you need to have some readiness to understand that in order to serve on the court in a way that will actually make life better.”
“It was actually Thomas Jefferson himself who said that ‘We might as well ask a man to still wear the coat which fitted him when he was a boy as expect future generations to live under’ — what he called — ‘the regime of their barbarous ancestors,’” he continued. “So even the founders that these kind of deadhand originalists claim fidelity to understood better than their ideological descendants — today’s judicial so-called conservatives — the importance of keeping with the times. And we deserve judges and justices who understand that.”
Pete Buttigieg’s remarks come as the latest viral sensation by the Biden/Harris 2020 campaign advisor. Last week, he had several interviews on Fox News spread across the internet for his spirited criticism of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.