Did Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., impose an unconstitutional “religious test” on a Trump judicial nominee when she questioned the judge’s ability to be a faithful Catholic and a good judge at the same time?
The senator has drawn criticism from Catholics and conservatives for her aggressive questioning of Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame Law School professor nominated to a vacancy on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Feinstein, at a Sept. 6 hearing, told Barrett her “dogma lives loudly within you.”
“I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma,” Feinstein said. “And I think in your case, professor, 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 the big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.”
The U.S. Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
WND columnist Star Parker was outraged, writing that, for Feinstein, it seems “being a believing Catholic is enough to disqualify a candidate for a federal judgeship.”
She pointed out that Barrett already is on the record recommending that when judges have a personal conflict with an issue before the court, they need to excuse themselves from the case.
“How is it that religious principle is ‘dogma,’ but left-wing doctrine, spontaneously emerging from the minds of men and women with certain political predispositions, is not?” Parker asked.
She noted Feinstein was concerned about a court’s decision that may infringe on what she called called “women’s reproductive rights.”
“‘Women’s reproductive rights’?” wrote Parker. “Where does this come from? What exactly is the authority according to which we arrive to the conclusion, and codify into law, that a woman has a ‘right’ to destroy her innocent unborn child? From what incontrovertible eternal truth does this absurdity emerge?
“I would put it, and Feinstein’s inquisition, more in the category of the famous quote of Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels: ‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can only be maintained for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic, and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the state to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state,'” she wrote.
Now Feinstein has doubled down, insisting in an interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union” that it was appropriate for her to question Barrett about her faith in the context of her nomination to be a judge.
“She’s a professor, which is fine, but all we have to look at are her writings,” the California liberal said, “and in her writings, she makes some statements which are questionable, which deserve questions.”
The nominee, who clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, co-wrote a paper with Rev. John Garvey of Catholic University of America that stated that when a judge’s morals conflict with the law, the judge should withdraw from the case.
But Feinstein drew the opposite conclusion from the paper, maintaining the law review article concluded “it may well be that a Catholic judge cannot be independent.”
“You have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should prevail,” the senator told Barrett.
Garvey said Sunday on the Fox News Channel’s “Journal Editorial Report” it looks like Senate Democrats are trying to impose a “religious test.”
“There was an implicit suggestion that religious convictions somehow ought to be different from other deep convictions people come to the court with,” he said.
Parker wrote that the U.S. has “arrived to a sad state of affairs where many falsehoods have been widely peddled in society at large and ultimately accepted as truths.”
“And the process whereby this has occurred is frighteningly like the process described by Goebbels. Alleged ‘facts,’ emerging from politically interested parties, are repeated over and over in the media until these ‘facts’ are widely accepted as truth and then preserved by suppressing dissent.”
She said it appears Feinstein wants “to use the state to repress dialogue and dissent.”
WND columnist David Limbaugh also joined the conversation, writing, “It’s rich that rule of law-scoffing Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin grilled one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, law professor Amy Coney Barrett, for placing her religious beliefs above the law.”
He noted Durbin asked Barrett, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”
Limbaugh said, apparently, Durbin “thought he had Barrett dead to rights” because of assertions she made in the law review article she co-wrote with Garvey.
“Durbin’s slimy distortion of Barrett’s unambiguous words revealed that he either hadn’t read her article or deliberately twisted her meaning,” Limbaugh said. “In this sleazy effort to entrap Barrett in a constitutional snare, Durbin landed himself in one of his own, because it is inappropriate for a senator to ask such a question of a judicial nominee, as the Constitution prohibits religious tests of any public officer.”
See Feinstein’s questioning: