These Supreme Court nomination proceedings are depressing because a minority faction will ram through an arch-reactionary to try to impose an extremely unpopular policy agenda on the country. But they’re also depressing because they’re saturated with bullshit. There are various forms. The careerist elite liberal rushing to assure the public that the latest witless mediocrity barfed up by the Federalist Society Industrial Complex is a towering legal mind and wonderful human being evenifyoumightsometimesdisagreewiththeirrulings. The conservative scholar trying to pretend that “originalism” means something other than “whatever is most consistent with the most recent Republican platform.” The gullible, intellectually underpowered journalist who can be convinced that any ultra-reactionary who can write prose more measured than an Andrew McCarthy blog post is a reasonable moderate who will not let politics drive his jurisprudence like Ruth Bader Ginsburg did. Etc. Etc.
There are a million variations:
Amy Coney Barrett is a woman who has lived out a radical critique of the modern world. She will be less vulnerable to the peer pressure of other judges than many might be, because she has a powerful moral compass, developed out of her own experience in prayer. Yes, she will likely oppose Roe v. Wade if the opportunity arises. Yes, she will likely take conservative positions. But she has a radical streak and an intensely personal God, and we should expect some surprises from her.
It’s the “if the opportunity arises” bit that kills me. Wow, yes I wonder if any red state will try to set up a test case for Roe at some point over the next 40 years, who can say really.
As for the idea that Barrett has some idiosyncrasies that will not make her vote predictable in every case, well you can say that about every justice who isn’t Sam Alito (who I think we’re going to find out was an android manufactured in Leonard Leo’s guest villa.) On what matters most to elite Republicans she’ll always be there, and that’s the only thing anyone need know about her.