“I wouldn’t say that we [law professors] sit around and pontificate about what Amy might do or not do,” said Garnett, who has known Barrett since 1998, when she was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Barrett was clerking for Antonin Scalia. “We’re all court followers because we’re law professors. Everybody knew this was a possibility, and certainly, after the week, I think the concern was for both of my friends,” she said of Thomas and Barrett. Last weekend, in front of Barrett’s Falls Church, Va. home, abortion-rights activists wore blood-stained clothes and held baby dolls.
At the school, the reaction to Dobbs has been largely positive, but there have been some pockets of disagreement. Democratic Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a Notre Dame alum, told me she received a letter from the law school explaining that an anonymous donor had made a substantial gift in her name to offset Amy Coney Barrett’s presence there. (A Notre Dame spokesperson declined to share the name of the donor or the amount of the donation.)
The Dobbs decision was largely unpopular off Notre Dame’s sylvan campus, according to fresh polling by the St. Joseph Democratic Committee obtained exclusively by POLITICO. In the Change Research poll of 1,454 likely voters in St. Joseph County conducted via dynamic online sampling from June 24 through 30, 61 percent say the Supreme Court made the wrong decision — and that’s including the red pockets of St. Joseph County, surrounding South Bend. (The breakdown of the poll was 94 percent of Democrats disapproved, as did 61 percent of independents and 29 percent of Republicans.)
In interviews, South Bend women who have showed up to the protests specifically namechecked Barrett to me, noting their ire with their former neighbor.
“It’s disappointing to see a woman not wanting to stand up for women,” said Arielle Brandy, 32, a mother of two daughters and a board member of the local Planned Parenthood chapter. “I understand that her job as a justice is to kind of separate personal feelings from obviously law and legislation, but a lot of the things that she has given opinions on or overruled are not reflective of our city.”
“We knew who she was and even though she lied and said Roe was settled law, no one here was shocked she voted to overturn,” said Amanda Govaert Konrath, 42, a local Democratic voter registration board member and mother of two. When the decision came down, her 18-year-old daughter asked Konrath if she could schedule an appointment for her to get an IUD.
“It’s heartbreaking because this town is so full of diversity and different opinions,” said Maria Carmona, 30, who works in human resources at a local factory and became pregnant with her daughter at 19.