The religious beliefs and convictions of federal appeals court nominee Amy Coney Barrett were not only scrutinized — they were criticized during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday. Barrett, a New Orleans native, is a Notre Dame Law School professor and a self-described faithful Roman Catholic.
The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Barrett’s ability to carry out her judicial responsibilities based on her past Christian-focused writings and speaking engagements. The left-wing group Alliance for Justice also claimed that “Barrett has asserted that judges should not follow the law or the Constitution when it conflicts with their personal religious beliefs.”
However, the article that Barrett co-authored, when she was a third-year law student, clearly states that Catholic judges must uphold the law as their sworn duty to the court and to the country.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) even went so far during the hearing as to accuse Barrett of a level of fanaticism. Of Barrett’s religious suggestion that a Catholic judge must recuse himself or herself in a capital punishment case if the judge morally objects to the death penalty, Feinstein said, “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.”
Once again, those on the Left have no tolerance for anyone who dares to disagree with them or hold a view different from their own liberal stances. Feinstein’s comments would be completely unacceptable if Barrett were of any religious belief besides Christian. Feinstein’s line of questioning came dangerously close to a religious test — one that would question someone’s ability to do a certain government job because of the person’s religious beliefs.
Imagine the horror and humiliation if conservatives were questioning an atheist nominee in a similar fashion. The fact that a professional woman who has excelled in her legal career faced questioning as if her faith were shameful and an automatic disqualifier for advancement is despicable and intolerant.
America should not be a country that holds disdain for religion or faith — or that disallows individuals who profess certain religious beliefs from holding government office. The constitutional rights that American citizens enjoy begin with the freedom to practice faith — or choose not to do so.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is also a Catholic, claimed Barrett is “outspoken” about her faith and therefore deserves to be thoroughly berated for her public display of religious belief.
Is the legal system really a place where religious intolerance is accepted and encouraged? Should a person feel the need to hide his or her religious convictions in order to achieve career advancement?
Witnessing the questioning and its intolerant nature, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said to Barrett, “I think some of the questioning that you have been subjected to today seems to miss some of these fundamental constitutional protections we all have.”
Katie Nations, married for 15 years, is a working mother of three young children and is based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.