Hawley, Barrett dismantle religious tests for office at Supreme Court hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri used his questioning of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as an opportunity to highlight the attacks levied by Senate Democrat against the Supreme Court nominee’s Catholic faith, and to remind the body what the Constitution says on the matter.
“Yesterday we were assured that you would not be attacked on the basis of your faith; I notice that that didn’t last 24 hours,” Hawley lamented. “But I’m not surprised because for three and a half years we have heard consistent attacks from the Democrat side on nominees on the basis of their faith.”
After a brief exchange about Barrett delivering speeches to Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone program (which Democrats attacked over ADF’s Christian conservative values), Hawley asked Barrett to elaborate on a statement she signed in 2006 “oppos[ing] abortion on demand” and supporting the “right to life from fertilization to natural death.”
“That was almost fifteen years ago, at the back of church there was a table set up for people on their way out of mass to sign a statement validating their commitment to the position of the Catholic Church on life issues,” Barrett explained, adding that she signed it “in my personal capacity as a private citizen. Now I am a public official, and so while I was free to express my private views at that time, I don’t feel like it is appropriate for me anymore because of the canons of conduct to express an affirmative view at this point in time.”
Responding to a question about religious tests for public office, Barrett explained that the Constitution “prohibits this body, prohibits the government generally, from disqualifying people from office because of their religious beliefs,” and noted that America’s Founders viewed free religious exercise as “central” to a free society.
“There are no religious tests for office,” Hawley agreed, “and the attempt to smuggle them in, even in the midst of this committee’s hearings today, must be resisted on the basis of the Constitution itself.”