The second day of hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett was a more dramatic day than the first. While nowhere near as tumultuous as Brett Kavanaugh two years back, the things the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s potential replacement said — and, often, didn’t say — were, to many, alarming. She didn’t confirm that President Donald Trump, who nominated her, could delay the election. (He can’t, by the way.) She didn’t condemn voter intimidation. She hinted the Roe v. Wade could be overturned. She didn’t even commit to a peaceful transition of power after the election. (One slightly up note: She did claim, “I am not here on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act.” But, you know, we’ll see.)
Given the gravity of yet another conservative judge being added to the already rightward tilting Supreme Court — with mere weeks until the man who nominated Barrett could be voted out of office — the internet did what it always does: It made jokes. There was a lot of self-care going around social media, a lot of it hovering around a single moment: When Senator John Cornyn asked Barrett to show him her notepad, only for her to reveal it was empty. She didn’t take notes. She evidently didn’t need them. It was all in her head.
Honestly, that’s impressive! (Although maybe it’s less so given how often Barrett simply evaded questions, claiming she couldn’t answer hypotheticals because, she said, she wanted to take things case-by-case.) Conservatives, from Donald Trump Jr. on down, held it up as a superheroic feat, proof that their hoped-for justice had a really good brain.
Others, however, spotted a weakness: She’d held up a blank page, in clear view of the cameras. And a blank page is a great place to Photoshop some jokes. The Lincoln Project, the band of Never Trump Republican turncoats, were one of the ones who got that ball rolling.
Posting this image for no reason whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/qYSLBYU1D2
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) October 13, 2020
And thus, the memes began. One person thought the blank notepad could be filled with her devious to-do list.
Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett held up her notepad during today's confirmation hearing: pic.twitter.com/sw5BvBDzHJ
— FFRF (@FFRF) October 13, 2020
And a reference to The Handmaid’s Tale, which, with Barrett’s perhaps looming nomination, is coming closer than ever to fruition.
What ACB was REALLY doing with her notepad. pic.twitter.com/BzkJXPZF0q
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) October 13, 2020
Another threw in a reference to the Democratic rival to Cornyn’s Senate seat.
There were Ted Cruz jokes.
Kathy Griffin realized doing nothing, leaving the empty notepad empty, was enough for a joke.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett holds up photo of her brain scan. pic.twitter.com/vUP5x8B8wM
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) October 13, 2020
And there was one person who thought Barrett should be telling the Senate about the right thing to do in this unprecedented situation.
— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) October 13, 2020