The U.S. Senate Tuesday publicly rejected complaints by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., about a Catholic judicial candidate’s “dogma” and approved, on a 55-43 vote, Amy Coney Barrett to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Barrett got support from three Democrats, including Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is running for re-election in Barrett’s home state.
Feinstein had tried to build opposition to Barrett by charging that her religious “dogma” was objectionable.
That raised questions about whether Feinstein was imposing an unconstitutional “religious test” on a Trump judicial nominee.
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.”
See Feinstein’s questioning:
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 claimed of the longtime Notre Dame law professor.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, noted that the confirmation came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley spoke in support of her.
“We commend the U.S. Senate for confirming Amy Barrett today and by doing so, the U.S. Senate roundly rejected the unconstitutional idea that Americans should be forced to choose between their faith and public service, even as a judge. Amy Barrett did not waiver in the face of Senator Feinstein’s open hostility toward her faith and the American people quickly rallied to her defense,” Perkins said.
“As a country based on the rule of law, we need judges who will impartially and fairly apply the law, not craft it according to their ideology or political views. If Feinstein were not biased in her opinions, she would have seen the very writings she used to criticize Ms. Barrett clearly demonstrate that she will adhere to the rule of law, and fairly and neutrally decide the cases before her.
“The president is doing his job nominating sound judges who will do their job and not engage in activism. The Senate, despite Democrat obstructionism, rightfully confirmed Amy Barrett,” Perkins concluded.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Barrett’s confirmation “is a victory for the pro-life movement as well as for the fundamental freedom of all Americans to live out their faith in the public square.”
“In spite of her exemplary qualifications, Judge Barrett was subject to outrageous personal attacks for her Catholic faith from pro-abortion senators during her confirmation hearing,” she said. “Those attacks have no place in America, let alone Congress, in the 21st century. Moreover, voters will not forget the attempted obstruction when they go to the polls next year.”
The Catholic Association released a statement from legal adviser Andrea Picciotti-Bayer: “Amy Coney Barrett’s qualifications for the federal judiciary are undisputed, but abortion industry advocates continue their smear campaign by attacking Barrett’s Catholic faith. The full Senate rejected their attempt to hang a ‘Catholics need not apply’ sign outside the Senate chamber when it considers candidates to the judiciary. We applaud the Senate’s rejection of anti-Catholic bigotry and confirmation of Amy Barrett’s nomination to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.”
WND columnist Star Parker was outraged by Feinstein’s attack, 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 “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.