A particularly meme-able moment to come out of Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing was when Senator John Cornyn asked Judge Amy Coney Barrett to share her notes with the room.
Cornyn, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Barrett that senators had multiple notebooks, notes and books to reference during the hearing. Then, he asked if she could hold up the preparatory materials she was using to answer the committee’s questions, at which point she showed them a blank notepad save the Senate’s letterhead
“That’s impressive,” Cornyn said before continuing on with his other line of questioning.
As the internet often does, social media users capitalized on the moment to put their own spin on what transpired. Comedian Kathy Griffin, who’s butted heads with President Donald Trump on numerous occasions, posted a photo of Barrett with her notebook and said it was a photo of her “brain scan.”
Judge Amy Coney Barrett holds up photo of her brain scan. pic.twitter.com/vUP5x8B8wM
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) October 13, 2020
For America, a right-wing digital activist organization, posted on Twitter a fake conversation between a Democratic senator and Barrett. They edited the pad of paper to read, “I know the cases you are bringing up better than you do,” as a response to a senator highlighting a court case during their questioning.
*Democrat Senator brings up court case*
Judge Amy Coney Barrett: pic.twitter.com/rk6qJ1lYhR
— ForAmerica (@ForAmerica) October 13, 2020
Another user going by the Twitter handle Gilleyish, had Barrett’s pad saying that Senator Ted Cruz was the zodiac killer, a reference to a joke that ignited on the internet years earlier. Cruz was born after the serial killer’s last known murder so it’s impossible for the two to be one in the same. But Cruz got in on the joke in 2017, responding to a tweet from Senator Ben Sasse with a coded letter the killer once sent.
— gilley (@gilleyish) October 13, 2020
In David Reaboi’s tweet, Barrett had drawn a picture of a handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale, a popular book and television show about a totalitarian society in which women are considered property of the government. Protesters use the show’s costumes as a means of demonstrating against politicians and Supreme Court justices they consider threats to women’s rights.
What ACB was REALLY doing with her notepad. pic.twitter.com/BzkJXPZF0q
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) October 13, 2020
Protesters donned the costumes during the contentious confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and repeated the move on Tuesday. A protest occurring outside the Supreme Court during the second day of Barrett’s confirmation hearing had demonstrators chanting “Let the people decide,” in reference to a push to let whoever wins the upcoming election make the nomination.
Sierra Club, an environmental organization, echoed the sentiment by way of a notepad meme. They posted on Twitter that her notepad should really say, “Delay this until the inauguration.”
What Amy Coney Barrett’s notepad should really say. #SCOTUShearing pic.twitter.com/pgJuKmDBHb
— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) October 13, 2020
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s September death started the race to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court pick before the election, a breakneck speed in the modern era. As Republicans defend moving forward with the process on the basis that it’s the role of the president and the Senate to carry out the process, Democrats argue they’re breaking a precedent they set.
In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans pushed back, saying that it was improper in an election year to confirm a Supreme Court justice and that it should be left up to the next president to decide.
The difference now, Senator Mitch McConnell said, is that the same party controls the Senate and the presidency, and with the 51 votes needed to form a simple majority, Democrats have little power to stop Barrett from being confirmed. If that happens, the Supreme Court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.
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