Rhodes College alumni start Facebook group to oppose Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett

Updated: Sep. 26, 2020 at 11:25 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Some graduates of Rhodes College disagree with Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court and have started a fast-growing Facebook group in opposition.

The Facebook group is named “Rhodes Alumni Against ACB’s nomination.”

The group founders say, in their view, Barrett’s legal opinions go against the school’s values and hundreds of other alumni have agreed.

Rhodes College alumni Rob Marus and Katherine Morgan Breslin say they believe the legal opinions expressed by Supreme Court nominee and Rhodes College graduate Amy Coney Barrett, such as opposition to the Affordable Care Act and abortion, would be dangerous in a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

“Why I wanted to use my voice is to speak up for the younger women as well, who may be really scared and may not know how this is going to affect their future,” Katherine Morgan Breslin Esq., Rhodes College Alumni Class of 1998 said.

“Her public record really jeopardizes a lot of people that Rhodes taught us to care for and to serve,” Rob Marus, Rhodes Alumni Class of 1997 said.

Marus and Breslin believe a letter from Rhodes President Marjorie Hass sent to alumni, faculty and students this week was too supportive of Judge Barrett, who they believe has marginalized at-risk groups in her judicial rulings, such as the LGBTQ and immigrant communities.

They’ve written their own letter addressed to President Hass, describing how they believe Barrett has violated the three core principles of Rhodes College which are Truth, Loyalty and Service.

“There really needed to be a strong statement from the Rhodes community, particularly from alumni who stand with them in solidarity,” Marus said. “Some of us are from vulnerable communities, I myself am gay, and say these are not the values that we learned at Rhodes.”

“There’s a lot of concern for those in marginalized communities or vulnerable communities,” Breslin said.,

More than 1,000 alumni have commented on the letter on Facebook, adding their names to be signed in agreement.

“People feel deeply about it including people who are literally friends with her, good friends with her, former roommates,” Marus said.

Saturday afternoon, President Haas issued a statement in support of Barrett’s nomination.

That statement reads:

"At Rhodes College, we set our graduates on a path to professional success at the highest levels. Judge Amy Coney Barrett ’94 is part of that legacy as she is nominated to the Supreme Court. The college has a long history of connections to the highest court in the land. Alumnus Abe Fortas ’30 was a Supreme Court justice, Rhodes graduates have clerked for justices and serve as federal judges, and Rhodes has recently hosted both the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen Breyer on our campus. Our mock trial team is ranked at the top of national lists.

"In a recent letter to our students and alumni, I emphasized that our long connection to the Court and the significance of this moment gives members of the Rhodes community a particular responsibility to rise to the great challenges of our time with courage and integrity.

“A Rhodes education embodies the values of critical thought, reasoned debate, the development of personal values, and the ability to engage across differences. Rhodes produces graduates in many fields who fall across a wide range of the political spectrum. As an institution devoted to excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, we are fundamentally committed to diversity, inclusion, and respect for the dignity and value of all persons. Rhodes stands in support of the rights of our students through advocacy, supportive policies, and the assertion of institutional values.”

“Her confirmation to the court will tilt the court across the board in a more conservative direction,” Mike Nelson, WMC Action News 5 Political Analyst said.

Views of Barrett’s judicial opinions aside, Mike Nelson, WMC Action News 5′s Political Analyst and Rhodes professor, says Barrett’s appointment is a tremendous accolade for Rhodes College. If Barrett is confirmed, she would be the 2nd Rhodes Alumni to be a Supreme Court Justice, after Abe Fortas who served in the 60s.

“There is no other small college in the small and few if any in the country that have produced two Supreme Court justices,” Nelson said.

Nelson says Republicans in the Senate appear to have the votes necessary to confirm Barrett easily and quickly.

The alumni group opposing Barrett’s nomination say they want the Rhodes President to make a statement saying she supports Rhodes Alumni and students who are marginalized members of American society.

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