After Getting Caught Hiding Ties to Anti-Abortion Groups, Barrett Must Come Clean on Undisclosed Speeches on Roe

10.11.20

“Amy Coney Barrett needs to come clean about her ties to far-right organizations and produce more information on the speeches she gave about Roe v. Wade. By repeatedly failing to disclose relevant information to the Senate, she has forfeited the benefit of the doubt. Her nomination should not move forward without a full accounting of her past speeches and links to these groups that she has clearly sought to downplay or hide.” – Christopher Kang, Chief Counsel, Demand Justice

In the two weeks since she was nominated by Donald Trump, Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been caught failing to disclose past appearances and ties to extreme, far-right groups that she was required to make known to the Senate. In the latest example of Barrett’s lack of transparency, CNN discovered two talks she gave on the subject of abortion and Roe v. Wade that she did not disclose to the Senate in either her circuit court confirmation process in 2017 or in her initial responses provided to the Senate during this confirmation process. Only after CNN’s report surfaced did Barrett make a supplemental filing with the Senate acknowledging the speeches, but what exactly she said in these talks remain unknown.

This proves why the Supreme Court confirmation process cannot be rushed – it takes time to conduct the proper vetting that affords access to all materials that could shed light on a judicial nominee’s views. Barrett should immediately disclose the speeches in question and any correspondence that references them, and she should ask the groups who hosted the talks to release any records or correspondence they have about them. Barrett has already been confirmed to one lifetime position without having to disclose the full extent of her speeches and her ties to controversial groups; she should not be allowed to evade scrutiny again.

BARRETT TRIED TO HIDE MULTIPLE TALKS SHE GAVE ABOUT ROE

  • CNN reported that Barrett failed to disclose two speeches to anti-abortion student groups.
  • CNN also reported that video of another speech Barrett gave on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade was removed by the university from YouTube in 2014. Of 11 lectures publicized as available to watch, only Barrett’s was removed.
  • Following the CNN report, Barrett filed a supplementary update that included the fact that she had given these two additional speeches, but she did not disclose any remarks, notes, or recordings.

BARRETT ALSO FAILED TO DISCLOSE TIES TO ANTI-ROE GROUPS

  • The Guardian reported that Barrett failed to disclose she had signed an ad calling for the end of the “barbaric” legacy of Roe v. Wade. The ad was sponsored by an anti-abortion group that supports criminalizing doctors who perform abortions and standard parts of the IVF process. More than a week later, Barrett still had not submitted this ad to the Senate.
  • CNN reported that Barrett also failed to disclose an ad that criticized Roe v. Wade as “infamous” and called for “the unborn to be protected in law.” She disclosed it only after reporters unearthed it.
  • CNN reported that while Barrett was a member of an on-campus anti-abortion organization, that group released a letter calling on the university to “rescind an award to then-Vice President Biden because of his beliefs on abortion.” The group said the letter was adopted unanimously. Barrett did not disclose that letter in her Senate questionnaire.

EVEN BEYOND ABORTION, BARRETT’S DISCLOSURES ARE GENERALLY MISSING KEY MATERIALS

  • NBC reported that Barrett failed to disclose work on a case “in which she was one of two lead attorneys: defending a Pittsburgh steel magnate accused of helping drive a major Pennsylvania Hospital System into bankruptcy.”
  • The Washington Bladepublished a report raising questions about Barrett’s ties to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Facing questions about the organization’s anti-LGBTQ+ work during her 2017 confirmation hearing, Barrett sought to downplay her ties, claiming she was not aware of the organization’s views on key issues. The Washington Blade raised questions about whether she had relationships with the organization that predate those disclosed.# # #