On Saturday, President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Barrett is a great jurist with excellent credentials, and a devout Catholic. But sadly, some are targeting Judge Barrett—and even lying about her—because of her religious beliefs.
After serving as a professor at Notre Dame Law School for well over a decade, Judge Barrett was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. During her 2017 confirmation hearings, Judge Barrett faced remarkable criticism because of her faith. Most infamously, she was told by a U.S. senator, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.” The absurd implication was that a person of faith like Amy Coney Barrett was unfit for a federal judgeship.
This past week, while Judge Barrett was a speculative contender for the Supreme Court nomination, she was the subject of similar attacks. A writer at POLITICO said her religious beliefs need to be “front and center” as she is considered for the Supreme Court, posing that there is “a tension between forthrightly serving as one of the final interpreters of the Constitution” and being loyal to the doctrines of her Catholic faith. Yahoo called her the judge “who hates your uterus.” And a writer at Newsweek falsely stated Judge Barrett is a part of religious group that inspired the dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” later printing a correction.
Such lies and mudslinging are completely uncalled for, and no person should be disqualified from any position in government, including on the Supreme Court, simply because of their religion. Judges are like the rest of us: we all have core beliefs. It is wrong to suggest that “religious judges” are uniquely compromised and unfit for the job.
Further, Judge Barrett has stated repeatedly during previous Congressional hearings that all judges, regardless of their religious views, have an obligation to decide cases based on the law, not on personal opinions. Judge Barrett’s position is the proper one that all judges should hold, yet some have insisted on going out of their way to criticize Judge Barrett for her faith, not just in the past week, but for years.
Amy Coney Barrett is like millions of Americans; her faith is a core influence in her life that has driven her to love God and neighbor as the Bible instructs us to. For example, Judge Barrett and her husband have seven children, including two adopted children from Haiti, and one child with special needs.
“What greater thing can you do than raise children?” Judge Barrett said while speaking at a Notre Dame Law School event. “That’s where you have your greatest impact on the world.”
In our nation, there have always been people of faith who held public office while exercising their responsibilities fairly and honorably. President Washington, who held the highest office in the land, pressed the importance of religion quite clearly in his farewell address. “[R]eligion and morality are indispensable supports,” he said. “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion … reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Washington would surely be displeased by the recent attacks against Amy Coney Barrett, and Americans today should not stand for them either. Judge Barrett has proven herself to be a brilliant jurist, and efforts to dismiss her nomination simply because of her faith must not be taken seriously.
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