Amy Coney Barrett’s decision to hold up a blank notebook to prove she wasn’t using notes during Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing turned into quite the viral sensation on social media, inspiring a host of amusing memes from both sides of the political aisle.
President Trump’s nominee displayed the pad at the behest of Senator John Cornyn, who told Barrett that senators use multiple notebooks, notes and books to reference during the hearing.
Cornyn then asked if she could hold up the preparatory materials she was using to answer the committee’s questions, to which she showed them an entirely blank notepad, aside from its ‘United States Senate’ letterhead.
‘That’s impressive,’ Cornyn remarked before continuing with his line of questioning.
But though the exchange was merely a brief moment in an otherwise hours-long hearing, it has since been immortalized in meme-hood thanks to the quick witticisms of social media users.
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett holds up a notepad of paper during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday
The Republican Party of Kentucky was one of the first to put their own spin on what transpired, tweeting a picture of Barrett holding up the notepad with the words ‘#FILLTHESEAT’ superimposed on the page.
The President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also sought to capitalize on the occasion, writing: ‘Unlike Joe Biden, Amy Coney Barrett doesn’t need notes or a teleprompter to remember her positions.’
Senior Legal Adviser to the Trump Campaign Jenna Ellis, meanwhile, posted a photo of Barrett holding up the blank notes, writing, ‘Judge Barrett’s policy agenda.’
Supporters of the President Trump – and critics of Joe Biden – also turned out in full-force.
One social media user superimposed the words ‘List of Joe Biden’s Accomplishments’ around an image of Barrett, showing her grinning from behind the blank page.
Others imposed the words ‘Democrats are idiots’ and ‘Score: ACB – 10, Dems -0’ on the sheet of paper.
Right-wing digital activist organisation, For America, tweeted a fake conversation between a Democratic senator and Barrett, in which Barrett’s pad of paper was edited to read: ‘I know the cases you are bringing up better than you do.’
One the opposing side of the ideological divide, comedian Kathy Griffin, who has shared a number of high profile clashes with Donald Trump, shared the image of Barrett and her pad, insisting she was holding up a ‘photo of her brain scan.’
David Reaboi tweeted the same image, writing ‘What ACB was REALLY doing with her notepad’, and showing a doodle one the page of a handmaid from The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian book and television series about a totalitarian society in which women are seen as government property.
Protesters use the costumes worn by women in the series for political demonstrations against politicians and Supreme Court justices whom they deem a threat to women’s rights.
The protests have been staged outside the Supreme Court throughout Barrett’s hearings, with a group of activists heard chanting ‘Let the people decide’ on Tuesday, in support of allowing whoever wins the upcoming election to choose Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor.
Sierra Club, an environmental organization, echoed the sentiment with a notepad meme of their own, writing ‘Delay this until the inauguration.’
Barrett’s religious beliefs were also ridiculed during the tweetstorm.
Along with her husband Jesse, the Supreme Court nominee is a member of the ultra-conservative religious group People of Praise, who actually inspired the Handmaid’s Tale.
The small group teaches wives they have to obey everything their husbands do – even in the way they vote.
‘I had to ask my husband permission to be here’ are the words one social media user digitally imposed on Barrett’s pad.
The implications that electing someone with such strong religious and conservative views to impartially rule on Supreme Court bench was also theorized.
‘I’m going to overturn everything for Trump,’ One user wrote. ‘Kiss Obamacare Goodbye’, another meme read.
Others suggested that the historic 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion would be at risk of being overturned with Barrett on the bench.
‘All your uteruses all belong to us now,’ one contributor wrote in jest. ‘Overturn Roe,’ wrote another.
But politics wasn’t the only topic of discussion. One contributor used the trend to spark a controversial debate of their own, writing on Barrett’s notepad: ‘A hot dog is a sandwich.’
‘Controversial stance from ACB here,’ the post’s author said, ‘may be disqualifying.’
Barrett batted away Democrats’ skeptical questions on abortion, health care and a possible disputed-election fight over transferring presidential power during Tuesday’s hearing, insisting she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases ‘as they come.’
She declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics.
She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Donald Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the November 3 election.
‘Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda – I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion – and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,’ Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee during its second day of hearings.
‘It’s not the law of Amy,’ she said. ‘It’s the law of the American people.’
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month started Trump’s race to confirm his Supreme Court pick before the election.
As Republicans defend moving forward with the process on the basis that it’s the role of the president and the Senate to carry out the process, Democrats argue they’re breaking a precedent they set.
In 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Republicans decried the decision at the time, saying it was improper of Obama to confirm a Supreme Court Justice during an election year, and that it should be up to the next president to decide.
But Senator Mitch McConnell says the difference is now that the same party controls the Senate and the presidency, and with the 51 votes needed to form a simple majority, Democrats have little chance of stopping Barrett from being confirmed.
Should Barrett secure her nomination, the Supreme Court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.