Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, one of the highest-ranking out elected officials in the nation, is concerned that Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would endanger her marriage and civil rights in general.
“I deeply worry about this woman’s stated views,” Lightfoot, who is lesbian, told reporters Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “She’s on the record on a number of different things, not the least of which is thinking that gay marriage is something that shouldn’t be countenanced. And she’s got soul mates in Justice Thomas and others, who think that the decision by the Supreme Court … should somehow be rolled back.”
“What should I tell my daughter — that somehow now my wife and I are no longer married?” she continued. “That we’re no longer legitimately recognized in the eyes of the law? That is dangerous, dangerous territory. And what about a woman’s right to choose? We’re gonna keep relitigating this issue, and we’re gonna make abortion illegal, as Amy Coney Barrett thinks it should be?”
Barrett, Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September, is going through confirmation hearings this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee is expected to vote October 22 on whether to advance Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate, and if the committee approves her, the full chamber would then vote.
Barrett has been a federal appeals court judge since 2017 and before that was a law professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. In her writings and speeches, she has been critical of Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that established marriage equality nationwide, and has expressed opposition to abortion rights. She has been evasive about these issues during the committee hearings, in which she has also used the outdated, offensive term “sexual preference” when talking about anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.
She has said that the philosophy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia is her philosophy. Scalia was noted for his hostility to LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive rights as well.
Lightfoot addressed Barrett’s nomination in response to the question of whether she was an “originalist,” a term often applied to judicial thinkers like Barrett and Scalia, who see the U.S. Constitution as set in stone and not a living document open to new interpretations.
“You ask a gay Black woman if she is an originalist? No, ma’am, I am not,” Lightfoot said, laughing, the Sun-Times reports. “That the Constitution didn’t consider me a person in any way, shape, or form because I’m a woman, because I’m Black, because I’m gay? I am not an originalist. I believe in the Constitution. I believe that it is a document that the founders intended to evolve. What they did was set the framework for how our country was gonna be different from any other. But originalists say that, ‘Let’s go back to 1776 and whatever was there in the original language, that’s it.’ That language excluded, now, over 50 percent of the country. So no, I’m not an originalist.”
Last week Lightfoot excoriated Justice Clarence Thomas as “a danger to our democracy” for joining fellow conservative Justice Samuel Alito in calling for Obergefell to be overturned. She has also called out Senate Republicans as hypocrites for pushing forward to fill the Ginsburg vacancy so close to the election when they refused to consider President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the vacancy left by Scalia’s death several months before the 2016 election.