Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was raked over the coals yesterday for using the term “sexual preference” at her confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Hawaiian Democrat senator Mazie Hirono condemned Barrett, stating, “Sexual preferences is an offensive and outdated term.” She reiterated her sentiments on Twitter:
Other members of the Democratic party also took to social media to vent their frustration at Barrett, with New York House candidate Ritchie Torres stating "I do not have a sexual preference ... I have a sexual identity."
Most of those taking issue with Barrett use of the phrase failed to acknowledge the fact that their own presidential nominee, Vice President Joe Biden, used the exact same term in May 2020 at a virtual roundtable with African American representatives in Florida.
America’s the only nation in the world that when we’ve gone through a major crisis, we’ve almost always been able to come get through it and come out stronger. I’m hopeful. I’m going to need you if we win. I’m going to need you to help this time rebuild the backbone of this country, the middle class, but this time bring everybody along regardless of color, sexual preference, their backgrounds, whether they have any … Just bring everybody along.
The Washington Post acknowledged, “Plenty of figures on the left — including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Barrett is hoping to replace on the high court — have also used the phrase, which was considered acceptable as recently as a decade or two ago.”
The Washington Free Beacon released a video of Biden, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and other Democrats using the term “sexual preference”:
During hearing, California Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein exchanged harsh words with Amy Coney Barrett:
Feinstein: Now, you said in your acceptance speech for this nomination, that Justice Scalia’s philosophy is your philosophy. Do you agree with this particular point of Justice Scalia’s view that the US Constitution does not afford gay people the fundamental right to marry?
Barrett: Senator Feinstein, as I said to Senator Graham at the outset, if I were confirmed, you would be getting Justice Barrett, not Justice Scalia. So I don’t think that anybody should assume that just because justice Scalia decided a decision a certain way, that I would too, but I’m not going to express a view on whether I agree or disagree with Justice Scalia, for the same reasons that I’ve been giving. Justice Ginsburg with her characteristic pithiness used this to describe how a nominee should comport herself at a hearing: “No hints, no previews, no forecasts.” That had been the practice of nominees before her, but everybody calls it the Ginsburg Rule because she stated it so concisely, and it’s been the practice of every nominee since. So I can’t, and I’m sorry to not be able to embrace or disavow Justice Scalia’s position, but I really can’t do that on any point of law.
Feinstein: Well, that’s really too bad because it’s rather a fundamental point for large numbers of people, I think in this country. I understand you don’t want to answer these questions directly, but you identify yourself with a justice that, you, like him, would be a consistent vote to roll back hard-fought freedoms and protections for the LGBT community. And what I was hoping you would say is that this would be a point of difference where those freedoms would be respected, and you haven’t said that.
Barrett: Senator, I have no agenda, and I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference. Like racism, I think discrimination is important. On the questions of law, however, I just, because I’m a sitting judge and because you can’t answer questions without going through the judicial process, can’t give answers to those very specific questions.