MSNBC political analyst Zerlina Maxwell said Monday that United States Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett has hate group ties, referring to the religious freedom legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom.
Maxwell said on MSNBC’s "Hardball" that Barrett is "very Catholic" and cited former Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s accusations against Barrett during a hearing last year. Franken declared ADF a "hate group" and asked why Barrett had ties to the group, accusing them of "call[ing] for the sterilization of transgender people abroad."
Franken was repeating the Southern Poverty Law Center’s charge that the ADF supports "sterilization," when the group had pointed out that those who chose to undergo sex change operations can have their legal sex changed. ADF did not say this is the only instance in which someone’s legal sex could be changed, despite SPLC's claim.
Nevertheless, Maxwell called ADF a "hate group," citing Franken's words as her only evidence.
"Amy Barnett [Barrett] went to Notre Dame, she is very Catholic," Maxwell said. "She had a famous moment with former Senator Al Franken during her hearings about how she spoke, essentially, to a hate group without really understanding the full context there."
Franken resigned from the Senate in disgrace after a photograph of him groping a woman led to a slew of accusations against him last year. The SPLC, for its part, has a history of labeling peaceful organizations "hate groups," and recently had to pay a 7-figure settlement to the Quilliam Foundation for labeling it and its founder "anti-Muslim extremists."
Barrett endured Franken’s attack as well as criticism of her religion to be confirmed by the Senate to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) questioned whether she would fairly interpret the law because Catholic "dogma lives loudly within you."
Maxwell said "voting rights, women's rights, workers' rights, affirmative action," and other things are all on the line with with the newly open Supreme Court seat. She said Democrats should do everything they can to prevent Republicans from confirming "a very extreme or conservative person" like Barrett to the Court.
Liberals have been fuming over the prospect of President Donald Trump nominating an originalist judge, similar to his first appointment Neil Gorsuch, to fill the seat being vacated by Anthony Kennedy. "Hardball" anchor Chris Matthews, who was on vacation Monday, has told democrats they must find a way to stop Trump’s eventual nominee.