That is a logical, straightforward observation to draw from the process of judicial recusal long established by federal law, but Democratic senators followed with suggestions that a nominee’s religion speaks to her qualifications to serve.
Hirono’s comments highlight the peril of this line of questioning.
Democratic senators attacked Amy Coney Barrett, professor at Notre Dame Law School and federal judicial nominee, Wednesday over the nominee’s faith.
Richard Garnett, also a University of Notre Dame law professor, said Feinstein’s line of questioning seemed to say “because you’re a Catholic, you can’t be believed”.
This isn’t about doctrinal battles or gay marriage.
“I think your article is very plain in your perspective about the role of religion for judges, and particularly with regard to Catholic judges”, Sen. The law is totally different. “And that’s of concern”. At a hearing this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel’s top Democrat, Sen.
“You are controversial”, Feinstein said. “And Roe entered into that, obviously”. “Although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge”. “It is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction”, she said at one point.
In a September 8 statement, the archbishop said the line of questioning Barrett received was “contrary to our Constitution and our best national traditions, which protect the free exercise of one’s faith and reject religious tests for public office, they are offensive to basic human rights”. Feinstein, who supports abortion, asked then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch if he considered Roe a “super precedent” that can not be reversed.
“Catholic judges are not alone in facing such dilemmas”.
The questions Barrett and Garvey consider have occupied other distinguished jurists (Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom Barrett clerked, thought that judges who object to the death penalty were obligated to resign).
So much for Article VI. If you think it does, you’re the bigot. “No, it would not”, she answered Senator Grassley’s opening question on the article.
It’s worth nothing that both Barrett and Russell Vought, a Wheaton College (where I work) graduate, make it clear that they, would, indeed follow the law as written and be fair to all as impartial public servants. The judge can’t decide to impose a lesser sentence when capital punishment is on the table; she has to recuse. He wrote in the Washington Examiner, “The case against Prof”. “Law professors less scrupulous than Prof”. “We said precisely the opposite”. “I’m a product of 19 years of Catholic education. And has let me know”, he told Barrett.
It’s unconstitutional, of course, as you can see above.
Donohue quizzed Durbin, “Have you ever probed the faith of a non-Catholic for the federal bench?” “Would that be the case if Barrett was of a different faith?”
Durbin then said that “there are many people who might characterize themselves ‘orthodox Catholics, ‘ who now question whether Pope Francis is an ‘orthodox Catholic.’ I happen to think he’s a pretty good Catholic“.
“Barrett (and I) said no such thing”, Garvey wrote. Such witness is always for the sake of the common good.
O’Brien noted as well that Feinstein had similarly singled out Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
“I suspect what really troubled (the senators) is that, as a Catholic, her pro-life views might extend beyond criminal defendants to the unborn”.
“This is disturbing”, Lee said from the Senate floor. “So faithful Catholic is interchangeable with Orthodox Catholic“.
“But why is a politician interested in that question when the only concern should be whether the nominee is a superb interpreter of the law?”
Johnson added, “I urge Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to take measures to snuff out such bigotry from his caucus quickly and decisively”.
“What these Senators did today was truly reprehensible”, the CV statement continued.
Representatives from advocacy group The Catholic Association also weighed in.
“The real danger to our constitutional system comes not from Amy Barrett’s Catholicism, but from Feinstein’s animus against it”. If true, the focus on our law review article is all the more puzzling.