WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 26: Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court attends … [+]
On Monday, Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in as Associate Justice in the Supreme Court. The response on social media has been as divided, divisive, and partisan as any problem the country faces today.
As expected, there were many who resented Barrett’s confirmation in the Supreme Court, and writer John Pavlovitz (@johnpvlovitz) took to Twitter to express his disgust: “Replace a strong, brave woman like Ruth Bader Ginsburg with someone like Amy Coney Barrett is as steep a moral decline as the persecution of Barack Obama in this human disaster of a president. There is only one way to fix this: we must emerge and choose freely. “
MSNBC correspondent Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) went a step further: “As the nation’s growing racial and religious diversity limits the prospects of the GOP, the Conservative staffing of the courts is what Princeton historian Sean Wilentz calls” right firewall “against a designated country that optionally develops away from you”
However, Ms. Reid’s comment does not accept that the Republicans (GOP) currently control the Senate and the White House. There has been a steady back-and-forth over the past twenty years with some notable blue and red waves. It is therefore questionable whether it is true that the country is “optionally developing away”.
Such facts didn’t stop Donna Iman (@donnaimanTX), who is running for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, from proposing: “Today Justice Amy Coney Barrett took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies at home and abroad, while alongside the greatest domestic Constitutional threat the United States has ever faced. “
The New York Times opinion columnist and economist Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) suggested he usually stay away from sharing such quick thoughts on these topics, tweeted, “I usually try to avoid political hot takes, bc what do I know? But I feel both scared and philosophical about the Barrett affirmation. Your chance to do immense damage will basically come * next week *. After that, it will be a GOP liability 1 / “
That seems almost insincere as anyone who follows Mr Krugman knows he’s regularly commenting on hot takes on Twitter. Given that he is an opinion columnist, this should be expected of him.
There’s also plenty of support for Barrett on social media as well, with former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker (@ MattWhitaker46) tweeted, “Congratulations, Amy Coney Barrett, Associate Justice on the Supreme Court!”
The confirmation has even been greeted with surprising support from those who tend to lean to the left. This included celebrity interviewer Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan), who commented, “Congratulations to the new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She has proven in her confirmation hearings that she is incredibly well qualified for the job. The Democrats’ squeaking about them is as hypocritical as it is pathetic. They would all say the exact opposite if it were one of their own. “
Rep. Mark Walker (RN.C.) also spoke about how Barrett’s endorsement has already led to calls to stack the court to give progressive votes an advantage, citing an article in the New York Post: “Since Amy Coney Barretts Confirmation had not even passed an hour MP Ocasio-Cortez once again called for radical calls to add judges to the court. It is clear: Joe Biden’s Democrats will stop at nothing to grab the Supreme Court. “
The media response to social media
Many of the official media reports provided more editorial commentary for confirmation than mere reporting. The official Washington Post report (@washingtonpost) at least confirms that it is an “opinion” in their tweet, “Opinion: Amy Coney Barrett joins a Supreme Court largely inconsistent with national consensus”.
Other media appeared biased, and that included the official report for Vox (@voxdotcom) which quickly stated, “The 48 Senators who voted against Amy Coney Barrett’s endorsement represent 13.5 million more people than the 52 Senators who voted for you. “
However, this is not entirely true as the state populations are compared. While the two California senators may represent more than the two Idaho senators, party affiliations or voter preferences are not considered in any way. According to a POLITICO / Morning Consult poll conducted during the confirmation hearings, 51% said the Senate should vote to confirm their nomination, far more than the 28% who said the Senate should not .
The Hill (@thehill) was among the media providing direct facts to the confirmation: “Susan Collins is the only Republican to break the line and vote against Amy Coney Barrett. Http://hill.cm/boGrZt7”
The Christian Science Monitor (@csmonitor) also stuck to the facts. “The Senate Republicans confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Supreme Court, ending a politically strained confirmation process. Judge Barrett will be working on health care cases immediately and the 2020 election in the court.”
Insight into the tweets
Beyond the partisan lines, there have been some examples of actual intelligence shared on social media. Bryan J. Scrafford (@bscrafford), a community organizer campaigning for LGBT rights and economic justice, shared a quick interesting fact – and without comment – citing an article from the Washington Post: “The last time was one Supreme Court Justice Strictly Sustained The party line vote took place 151 years ago during the rebuilding process. Interestingly, its confirmation came at a time when Congress was repeatedly resizing #SCOTUS. “
At least that particular discourse has been largely free of naming and wild allegations, but with a week to go until the election, that may have been pushed into the background.