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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Senate confirms Trump judicial pick attacked for being too Catholic

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — After a contentious battle characterized by “Catholic Bigotry,” Amy Coney Barrett has finally been confirmed as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge.

After a 176-day delay in which almost all Democrats voted to try to filibuster her nomination, the Senate confirmed Barrett Tuesday by a vote of 55-43. Three Democrats (Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Tim Kaine) joined the Republican “yes” votes.

“Judge Amy Barrett’s confirmation is a victory for the pro-life movement as well as for the fundamental freedom of all Americans to live out their faith in the public square,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said. “We thank President Trump for keeping his promise to nominate judges who will respect the Constitution and not impose a pro-abortion agenda from the bench.”

“Amy Coney Barrett is one of President Trump’s many well-qualified, impressive, experienced judicial nominees who will apply the rule of law fairly,” Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino said. “I look forward to more confirmations from the Senate soon.”

“Judge Barrett’s scholarship has also demonstrated her dedication to preserving the originalist legacy of her former boss, the late Justice Antonin Scalia,” Americans United for Life’s Steven H. Aden stated. “As her former colleagues noted during the confirmation process, Judge Barrett ‘is a woman of remarkable intellect and character.’”

Barrett is a law professor at Notre Dame Law School and former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, nominated in early May by President Donald Trump to the Seventh Circuit federal Court of Appeals. Her nomination became controversial not only because of the orchestrated delay by Democrats to hear her but because the opposition to her confirmation was based in part on her Catholicism.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, antagonized Barrett, criticizing her because the Catholic faith “lives loudly in you.” The California senator openly expressed doubt that the nominee would follow constitutional law because of her Christian convictions. “You have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should prevail,” she charged, referring to the sanctity of innocent human life.

Feinstein grilled Barrett on her Catholic faith so prejudicially that both Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins and Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber wrote to rein in Feinstein’s vitriol.  

“It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that (being Catholic) might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge,” Jenkins wrote. “The attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern.”  

The Catholic university president concluded, “I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom ‘dogma lives loudly’—which is a condition we call faith.”

Senator Al Franken, D-Minnesota, attacked Barrett as well, focusing on the fact that she spoke at an Alliance Defending Freedom event. The oft-discredited Southern Poverty Law Center still labels pro-family groups such as ADF “Hate Groups.”

Article six, Section three of the U.S. Constitution states, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Referring to this Constitutional clause, Princeton’s Eisgruber wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee urging them to “refrain from interrogating nominees about the religious or spiritual foundations of their jurisprudential views ... Religious belief is constitutionally irrelevant to the qualifications for a federal judgeship.”

Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, joined fellow Mormon Senator Orrin Hatch in criticizing colleagues who attack a nominee’s faith. “They were asking, ‘Do you actually believe that stuff?’  ‘Do you actually believe the doctrine of your church?’ ‘Do you believe it deeply, sincerely?’ Suggesting that if so, that is somehow a problem,” Lee said.

“In spite of her exemplary qualifications, Judge Barrett was subject to outrageous personal attacks for her Catholic faith from pro-abortion Senators during her confirmation hearing,” Dannenfelser noted. “Those attacks have no place in America, let alone Congress, in the 21st century. Moreover, voters will not forget the attempted obstruction when they go to the polls next year.”

The Catholic Association agreed. “Amy Coney Barrett’s qualifications for the federal judiciary are undisputed, but abortion industry advocates continue their smear campaign by attacking Barrett’s Catholic faith,” legal adviser Andrea Picciotti-Bayer stated in a press release.

“The full senate rejected their attempt to hang a ‘Catholics need not apply’ sign outside the Senate chamber when it considers candidates to the judiciary,” Picciotti-Bayer added.  “We applaud the Senate’s rejection of anti-Catholic bigotry.”

The Chicago Tribune’s John Kass summarized, “Sens. Dick Durbin and Dianne Feinstein are applying a religious test to public office, something expressly forbidden by the Constitution. ... This is a political witch hunt, cloaked in soft voices and the weight of federal power, and for that they should be ashamed.”

“Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” Durbin interrogated.  

“The dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein charged, as if holding Christian beliefs was an offense. “That’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for,” she revealed, referring to abortion.

“Would Democratic senators dare ask such questions of a Muslim or a Jew?” Kass asked.  “No. Their own party would condemn them as would every newspaper editorial board in the country.”

As usual, the dividing issue is abortion. Fourteen years ago, Barrett wrote a paper calling Roe v Wade an “erroneous decision.” Later, she was one of many signers of a protest against the Obamacare’s forced abortion coverage mandate. As a result, a nationwide coalition of pro-abortionists wrote to stop the Barrett appointment.

On Monday, the Senate confirmed Trevor McFadden for the District Court for the District of Columbia. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been criticized for not doing enough to stop Democrats’ delays on the president’s nominees, pledged to also confirm Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen for the Sixth Circuit, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid for the Tenth Circuit, and Stephanos Bibas for the Third Circuit this week.

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