Dear Judge Barrett,
As I understand that you are a person of profound Catholic faith, I am drafting this appeal to you (my fourth) as a sermonette – what we Jews call a dvar Torah.
I am much less of a believer than you, but my first response to the news that President Trump had contracted the coronavirus was: donc Dieu existe! It seemed a swift and precise example of divine retribution – as stated by my reading for today, Psalm 7:
14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
Then it gradually transpired that you were the instrument for visiting this punishment-by-pestilence on Trump and his associates, at the ceremony he held to mark your nomination to the Supreme Court. It was not only in itself the epitome of iniquity – a brazen display of dishonesty for political gain; it was also conducted with Trump’s continuing, arrogant violation of the admonition in Deuteronomy 4:15, “take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves”: no social distancing, few masks.
And this egregious transgression took place on 26 September — two days before Yom Kippur, when Jewish tradition dates the determination in heavenly court of all humans’ fate for the coming year according to their deeds.
Indeed, since then such a still-growing number of participants have contracted the virus that the event appears to have been a super-spreader of historic proportions. Besides Mr. and Mrs. Trump and the president of your own Notre Dame University, they include at least three Republican senators. Two of them are members of the Judiciary Committee, which must pass on your nomination before it goes to the Senate floor. Their absence, in addition to the two Republican senators who have already committed not to support your nomination, would deprive it of a majority at either stage.
Your candidacy is not yet inevitably doomed; Mitch McConnell’s machinations can challenge even divine will. Also, I have read that you survived a bout with Covid-19 during the summer, and are therefore – thank goodness! — considered immune to the disease yourself. But you have become the prime agent of its spread into the highest echelons of government. As your reputation is undoubtedly as valuable as your life, the warning is obvious: repent and withdraw, rather than suffer further indignity that you may never live down.
(Still) respectfully yours,
(E-mailed to Amy Coney Barrett’s address at Notre Dame, where she is a professor of law)