If President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the federal judge can expect her second bruising round of confirmation hearings in less than a year and more of what supporters call “unfair criticisms” about her faith.
Barrett, 46, is one of six judges Trump has already interviewed to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the bench. She is a federal appeals court judge who was appointed by Trump in 2017. Her Senate confirmation was anything but easy as she was grilled by Democrats about her religious background.
She once told a 2006 Notre Dame Law School graduating class that their “legal career is but a means to an end, and … that end is building the kingdom of God. … If you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”
“The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said during the September 2017 hearing.
When Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. asked if she was an “orthodox Catholic” — a term used in a paper she co-authored two decades before — Barrett clarified she is a “faithful Catholic” but would “stress my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge.”
After Barrett’s hearing, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said he was “deeply concerned by the harsh and often unfair criticisms that are now routinely levelled from both sides of the political spectrum against distinguished judicial nominees who would serve this country honorably and well,” including Barrett. He urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to “refrain from interrogating nominees about the religious or spiritual foundations of their jurisprudential views.”
Barrett’s connections to a charismatic organization, the People of Praise, has also come under fire, especially as she’s made it onto the short list of the president’s Supreme Court picks. Barrett’s critics have called the group a “cult” and believe it could cloud her judgment on the nation’s highest court.
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