Opinion: Really, Sen. Cruz? This is what you asked Judge Barrett

 Opinion: Really, Sen. Cruz? This is what you asked Judge Barrett

There are a multitude of topics to discuss with a person nominated to fill a lifetime appointment, let alone one nominated to be one of only nine justices on the Supreme Court of the United States. As such, senators must be selective in their questions to avoid squandering their precious time, and instead focus on prioritizing those areas of the utmost and often most urgent concerns.

But rather than ask Barrett about her judicial philosophy of originalism, stare decisis, her controversial academic writings as a law professor or her judicial opinions over the past three years as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals — all of which are top of mind for many voters — he bafflingly decided that these four questions were a far better use of her intelligence.

While Barrett was gracious enough to answer the senator’s questions, even laughing and smiling while doing so, many women — myself included — re-envisioned a different conversation playing out, one in which Barrett would have insisted and been given the space to discuss her judicial record, convince the panel of her impartiality and confront other US senators’ consequential concerns, rather than engage in the ridiculous small talk to which few, if any, male nominees would have ever been subjected.

1. How long have you played the piano?

I’ve played the piano almost as long as I’ve had to endure unrelenting soliloquies from people who pretend to seek my insight but really just sought a vapid bobblehead to affirm their own opinions.

2. Do the kids do piano lessons as well?

Yes, each of my children must learn the lesson of having to exercise the restraint and discipline it takes to be lectured to by someone who fails to fully acknowledge my intellectual prowess, my professional resume and the sanctity of my time by refusing to extend even the courtesy of assuming that I need no instruction.

3. You and your husband have seven kids. How did you manage with the distance learning? What was that like in the Barrett household?

The same way every other parent managed — with loving diligence and a sincere resentment that goes along with knowing that so much of this crisis could have been prevented. After watching your questioning at today’s confirmation hearings, I’m sure even those without school-age children can now relate to the frustrating experience of wanting to learn from someone whose job it is to impart wisdom, only to be undermined by a random chat by someone who demonstrably lacks focus and clearly hasn’t been paying attention.

4. What advice would you give little girls?

I would paraphrase the woman whose seat I have been nominated to fill: Tell your brethren to do you no favors, but insist that they take their feet off your neck, and instead be quiet long enough for you to answer with the benefit of your brain.

Now, let’s hear from the judge about the issues that matter most.

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