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Rhodes alumni write letter opposing ACB's nomination to U.S. Supreme Court

Rhodes College alumni wrote a letter to the school's president with over 1,500 signatures opposing Amy Coney Barrett's nomination.
Credit: AP
Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after President Donald Trump announced Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Some Rhodes alumni are sounding the alarm on Facebook – in disagreement of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.   

They started a rapidly growing group online in opposition.   

The group sent a letter to the Rhodes president with over 1,500 signatures from Rhodes alumni.   

The organizers say in their mind, Barrett’s legal opinions go against the school’s values.   

“This has nothing to do with any personal aspect of her family life or her faith,” said Katherine Breslin, who graduated from Rhodes in 1998. “It’s just based on public statements, public affiliation, and rulings.” 

Breslin is from the same sorority chapter as Judge Barrett - who graduated from Rhodes in 1994.   

She’s part of the Facebook group "Rhodes alumni against ACB’s nomination.” 

Breslin stated she’s not asking the college to take a stance on Barrett’s nomination.   

“We would like them to just affirm the stance, that the fear that is out there among marginalized communities as well and just to acknowledge that and affirm that they support the rights of those that are marginalized.”  

Rob Marus who founded the group believes Barrett’s legal opinions including abortion could be threatening to women and marginalized communities.  

Hello fellow Lynx! I'm creating this page out of an abundance of disgust for the idea that a theocratic bigot would...

Posted by Rhodes College Alumni Against ACB's Nomination on Wednesday, September 23, 2020

“My right to get married and my right not to be fired just because of who I am is hanging by a thread,” said Marus. “It is by the grace of one vote on the supreme court and that vote probably just changed from pro-gay marriage to anti-gay marriage.” 

On Saturday, President Marjorie Hass released this statement on Barrett's nomination:

Rhodes College President Marjorie Hass issued the following statement regarding Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s ’94 nomination to the Supreme Court:

“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.”

Marus said when a Facebook post made by the college on Barrett received backlash, he decided to act.   

“There were hundreds of comments,” Marus said. “A lot of really upset alumni particularly younger alumni particularly marginalized alumni. So I decided this is it, to protect the reputation of the college we have to make some kind of statement.” 

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