Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein recently attacked 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Amy Coney Barrett for her Christian faith. More specifically, Feinstein attacked Barrett, picked by President Donald Trump, for actually holding onto her faith as something that actually means something to her.
Barrett, a mother of 7, is a law professor at the Catholic University of Notre Dame and has written previously about the role of religion in public life. Drawing on these written materials, delivered in the form of an academic lecture to Christian legal groups, Feinstein attacked Barrett's Catholic Christian faith, asserting that her religious views will prevent her from forming fair rulings. In particular, Feinstein thought that the nominee will be a threat to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling — something that Feinstein so strongly supports that she called it a "super-precedent."
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said according to National Review. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”
Controversy erupted after Feinstein's comments. Various articles were written from a variety of publications — Protestant, Catholic, and secular — remarking that Feinstein was anti-Catholic.
Feinstein doesn't appear to understand what all the controversy is about. Her office attempted to clarify her position, but actually made the problem worse. Her office responded to the controversy by stating that Christian lawyers have a difficult if not impossible task in ruling fairly and justly. National Review interprets her statements as simply being hostile to Christians in public life.
Bloomberg News, a secular news outlet, has remarked that Senator Dianne Feinstein owes an apology to judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett, along with an explanation to all Americans who do not appreciate the bias against religion shown in her comments.
Barrett's confirmation hearing last week, remarked Bloomberg, put on display an anti-Catholic stereotype that goes back at least 150 years in the United State. This stereotype holds that Catholics are unable to separate church and state because their religious allegiances cannot be reconciled to their oath to the Constitution.
Politico also wrote an article covering the outrage caused by Feinstein's comments. University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins and Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber both wrote letters condemning Feinstein's comments.
According to Barrett, judges should not try to align their legal rulings with the Church's moral teaching. Rather, when a judge's religious and judicial duties are at odds, they ought to recuse themselves and simply not rule on the case. Despite being a common approach to reconciling one's religious and judicial duties, this wasn't satisfying to Feinstein.
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