Meet Cornelia Pillard, Obama’s latest affront to the Constitution

Obama and Pillard.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeBarack Obama’s flagrant disregard for the Constitution has manifested itself once again in his latest judicial nomination, Cornelia Pillard, to the influential DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

For reasons Paul Mirengoff at Power Line explains, every American who respects religious liberty has much to fear from her confirmation:

Ranking Member Grassley (and later Sen. Cruz) inquired about a statement Pillard made regarding Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC. In that case, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 9-0, found that the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment bar suits brought on behalf of ministers against their churches under the anti-employment discrimination laws, because churches and other religious groups must be free to choose their leaders without government interference.

Prior to the decision, Pillard wrote that the position of the defendant church represents “a substantial threat to the American rule of law” […] she took a position too radical for any of the Court’s liberals to adopt. In fact, according to Cruz, Justice Kagan described the government’s position in the case, which Pillard supported, as “amazing.”

If you’re getting the sinking feeling we miiiiight not be dealing with a fair-minded, impartial jurist who respects Americans’ freedoms or feels beholden to the intent of the Constitution’s text, just wait.

An examination of Pillard’s writings reveals that her predominant allegiance is to a pure leftist, pseudo-feminist agenda, and that she sees the bench as little more than a vehicle through which to impose it on the rest of the country.

Her biases shine in vivid detail in a 2007 essay she penned for Georgetown Law, arguing that both legal abortion and compulsory employer coverage of contraception were necessary prerequisites to women’s equality, and as such the Constitution not only permits them, but actually requires them:

It is not just because equality rights are strong and abortion rights are under attack that it makes sense for reproductive rights advocates to turn to equal protection, but also because sex equality is fundamentally at stake in controversies over reproductive law and policy. Reproductive rights, including the rights to contraception and abortion, play a central role in freeing women from historically routine conscription into maternity. It is reproductive rights that have begun to allow women to decide whether and when to follow the path of motherhood. Our Constitution declares our liberty to protect our own life and health […]

Antiabortion laws and other restraints on reproductive freedom not only enforce women’s incubation of unwanted pregnancies, but also prescribe a ‘vision of the woman’s role’ as mother and caretaker of children in a way that is at odds with equal protection.

But “sex equality” only begins with the unconditional discretion to kill their unborn sons and daughters. Private employers must be legally compelled to provide them with contraception. Failure to do so constitutes “sex discrimination”—even if none of their policies actually treat female employees differently than male employees in the same position:

If impaired access to contraceptives hinders women’s ability to exercise choice about when and whether to have children, it also reinforces broader patterns of discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders rather than reliable breadwinners and citizens.” […]

Women and men have an equal moral claim (and constitutional right) to sexual intimacy, yet contraceptive exclusions suggest that women must pay for that right in ways that men need not. The right to engage in nonprocreative sex, which the Supreme Court has protected from Griswold v. Connecticut through Lawrence v. Texas, can only be equally assured to women when they have ready access to safe and effective birth control. Plans that fail to provide access to contraception on the same terms as other drugs and devices are inconsistent with women’s equal liberty” […]

Women’s equal freedom of intimate association and liberty to invest in life plans on equal terms with men-plans for education, employment, or family that can span years-require that contraception be treated as a routine health benefit and not excluded from public or private health insurance coverage. Women cannot participate in society, learn, earn, govern, and thrive equally without the ability to determine whether and when to become mothers.

(Never mind, of course, that the majority of American women, including a majority of the unintended pregnant, will never have an abortion, or that Ireland’s abortion prohibition hasn’t made women second-class citizens socially or economically. Also ignore the fact that contraception is hardly a crushing expense.)

This comes straight from the heart of leftist feminism: because nature gives women such a lopsided share of the burden in reproduction—nine months of physical hardship carrying then giving birth to an inescapable baby who the father can far more easily abandon completely—the rest of the world owes them proactive measures to compensate them…regardless of the cost in babies’ blood or their neighbors’ wallets and liberties.

But such an understanding of equality is completely incompatible with the Constitution Pillard would be sworn to uphold. In the United States’ natural-rights framework, our shared humanity entitles all of us to equally exercise our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, backed by government’s power to exercise force against violations of those rights.

Governmental use of force to ensure equitable or otherwise-desirable outcomes for people necessarily entails that choice or property will be taken from someone else on the recipients’ behalf, opening the floodgates to sapping liberty from every aspect of our lives. That children have to sacrifice their very lives to secure women’s sacred, oh-so-important right to sleep with men who don’t respect them and can’t be trusted to take responsibility for whatever children they might create says it all.

Pillard’s entire theory of “sex equality” is without basis in the text of the Constitution or the intent of its authors, and so for her to make rulings based on it as a judge would be completely illegitimate.

Pillard also hopes changing the subject to the horrors of parenthood would draw attention “away from the deceptive images of fetus-as-autonomous-being that the anti-choice movement has popularized since the advent of amniocentesis.” No, she doesn’t bother to explain where the deception is.

Lastly, so complete is Pillard’s feminist fanaticism that, in the aforementioned essay she actually argued for striking down abstinence-based education programs on equal-protection grounds, based on the half-baked assessment that they reinforce gender discrimination. Some liberal attempts to defend Pillard have dishonestly suggested she poses no threat to abstinence education overall and was only critiquing a few specific curricula, but her words (p. 948) clearly posit that abstinence education is inherently discriminatory, and that no program would be safe:

The abstinence-only approach is permeated with stereotyped messages and sex-based double standards about acceptable male and female sexual behavior and appropriate social roles. Public school teach of gender stereotypes violates the constitutional bar against sex stereotyping and is vulnerable to equal protection challenge.

Cornelia Pillard is not the sort of jurist a president who respects the Constitution or the liberties it protects would ever give a second glance, but an ideal pick for someone who sees his oath of office as an obstacle to be circumvented.

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