Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the pro-life judge expected to be chosen by President Donald Trump to succeed whichever Supreme Court justice departs next, has spoken out against the unconstitutional and arguably un-American religious tests Democrats have been imposing on judicial nominees.
“We have a long tradition of religious tolerance in this country, and in fact the religious test clause in the Constitution makes it unconstitutional to impose a religious test on anyone who holds public office,” she said during an appearance last week at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.
“I think when you step back and you think about the debate about whether someone’s religion has any bearing on their fitness for office, it seems to me that the premise of the question is that people of faith would have a uniquely difficult time separating out their moral commitments from their obligation to apply the law. I think people of faith should reject that premise.”
While she didn’t mention Democrats by name, it was clear from her words that she’d been referencing the attacks congressional Democrats have been making on those of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees who boast religious views, including Barrett herself.
During her confirmation hearings in May of 2017, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, essentially accused her of being a religious fanatic.
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern. When you come to big issues, that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country,” the far-left Democrat said.
The implication by Feinstein and her fellow Democrats was that Barrett’s religious views — particularly her pro-life stance on abortion — would taint her judicialship.
Barrett responded by reminding Feinstein that, like all other judges (be they Christian, Catholic, Muslim, atheist, etc.), she’s well aware that it’s “never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction,” when issuing a ruling.
These same sorts of attacks have been repeated ad nauseum since Barrett’s confirmation. Last December, for example, Sens. Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris harangued a district court nominee over his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, a 136-year-old Catholic fraternal organization known for providing charitable services, including war and disaster relief.
“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions. For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage,” Hirono said in a written statement to nominee Brian Buescher. “If confirmed, do you intend to end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias?”
She essentially suggested that Buescher would need to detach himself from his Catholic beliefs to be viable for a position on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.
In response, Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican, introduced a resolution that called for reaffirming the constitutionally guaranteed right to religious freedom. This spurred Hirono into doubling down and accusing her devout Christian colleague of being supportive of the “alt-right”:
Democratic senator Mazie Hirono has doubled down on her anti-Catholic bigotry, calling Ben Sasse’s resolution against unconstitutional religious tests “the alt-right’s position.” Get the details in my post this morning at @NRO: https://t.co/Rg8QdYc3vJ
— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) January 19, 2019
From a Sasse spokesman this morning: “Senator Hirono is recklessly using the label ‘alt-right’ to smear 2 million Catholics who volunteer in their communities. It’s laughably stupid, but it’s also insulting to the folks who face hate from the actual alt-right and neo-nazis.”
— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) January 19, 2019
Two months later in February of this year, Sen. Cory Booker grilled then-judicial nominee Neomi Rao, who’d been tapped by the president to replace Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, over her Christian beliefs.
First, he asked her whether she’d ever had an LGBTQ clerk, never mind the fact that she hadn’t become a judge yet and thus had never had any law clerks, period. When that attack failed, he tried again by asking whether she’d ever hired a gay employee.
“To be honest I don’t know the sexual orientation of my staff,” Rao replied. “I take people as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. I treat people as individuals.”
“Are gay relationships in your opinion immoral?” Booker continued.
“I am not sure the relevance of that,” Rao replied.
Watch the full back-and-forth below:
Why did Booker ask these questions? Because Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin. But how were these religious beliefs relevant to Rao’s nomination? That remains unknown.
During her recent appearance at Hillsdale College’s D.C., campus, Barrett cited a notable example from the past to bolster her point that a judicial nominee’s religious leanings should bear no relevancy during his or her confirmation hearings.
“She favorably cited the example of Justice Robert Jackson in the 1944 Korematsu v. U.S. decision, which upheld the constitutionality of Japanese internment,” The Daily Caller notes.
“Though Jackson held top legal posts in the Roosevelt administration and was a close friend of the president, he dissented from the Korematsu ruling, warning the decision would lay about like ‘a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.'”
“Being a judge takes courage, the courage of Robert Jackson. You are not there to decide cases as you may prefer,” Barrett said.
It could also be argued that members of Congress likewise “are not there to decide” whether or not a judicial nominee’s personal views conform to their own. They’re there to determine whether a nominee boasts the experience and skills need to perform well as a judge.
Watch the full event at Hillsdale College below:
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