August 12, 2022

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Tennessee college alumni lobby to remove Supreme Court Justice Barrett from school’s ‘hall of fame’

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An alumni group at Rhodes College created a petition for the school to remove Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett from the school’s “Hall of Fame” because of her vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The petition was created by Rhodes College Alumni for Reproductive Rights and is being sent to the school’s president Jennifer Collins and Director of Community Standards Richard Adams.

According to the letter, the signatories’ “firm belief in the Rhodes Honor Code we all signed impels us to make this request.”

The letter argues that Barrett has violated the Rhodes Honor Code through her testimony in the Senate confirmation hearings and in her “judicial decision-making process.”

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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett listens during the second day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
(Drew Angerer/Pool via AP)

“In each of the categories above, Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s adherence to an originalist interpretive methodology of constitutional textual analysis (as reflected in her scholarly legal articles) appears to be at odds with statements she made to the United States Senate,” the letter states.

During Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings, she said in response to a question posed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., that Roe v. Wade is not super-precedent.

“To define cases that are so well-settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling. And I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall in that category,” Barrett said.

The letter criticized Barrett’s response, stating that she might have been misleading.

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An alumni group at Rhodes College created a petition for the school to remove Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett from the school’s “Hall of Fame” because of her vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
(Reuters/Karen Pulfer Focht)

“It was, at best, disingenuous of Justice Barrett to admit that she did not believe Roe to be a ‘super-precedent’ yet then suggest that did not mean the case ‘should’ be overruled, despite clearly adhering to a legal philosophy that would obviously lead her to rule against Roe,” the letter states.

The alumni group also wrote that Barrett is a major threat to fundamental rights in America.

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“And we believe that Justice Amy Coney Barrett is one of the biggest current threats to our fundamental rights, the stability of our nation, and our democracy. Moreover, as Rhodes alumni who pledged the same fealty to truth, loyalty, and service’ as she did, we find her actions to be a clear – and perhaps history’s most destructive to date – violation of the Honor Code we all hold dear.” 

“Simply being one of our most famous alumni is not a sufficient reason for the College to continue honoring someone thus who has very publicly breached the most fundamental Rhodes values. Therefore, we respectfully request that Justice Barrett be removed from the Rhodes College Hall of Fame based on the above violations of the Rhodes Honor System,” the letter added.