Biden: Barrett's Faith Should Not Be Questioned

October 12, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Monday that Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's Catholic faith should not be questioned during her confirmation hearings.

"No, faith should not be considered," Biden said when asked whether Senate Democrats should pursue questions about Barrett's faith. "No one's faith should be questioned."

During her nomination in 2017 to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett faced criticism for her Catholic beliefs from Senate Democrats who believed her religious views would conflict with her duties.

"The dogma lives loudly within you," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) told Barrett in one of the hearings. Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) asked if she considered herself an "orthodox Catholic."

Since Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court, Feinstein and other Senate Democrats have opposed her confirmation. They have yet to attack her faith as directly as they did three years ago.

Political and court appointees have frequently faced questions from Democratic senators about how their beliefs would prohibit them from carrying out their duties. In 2017, Feinstein and Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) opposed federal judge nominee Brian Buescher for belonging to a Catholic group. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) also opposed Russell Vought, Trump's nominee for Office of Management and Budget director, over his evangelical Christian faith.

Since President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, Democrats have often pivoted from questions about her faith to saying a Barrett confirmation would end the Affordable Care Act. Barrett has assured lawmakers that her religious beliefs will not prevent her from fulfilling her duties as a jurist.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) has been the most outspoken critic of any attacks on Barrett's faith since her nomination. He warned his Democratic colleagues they would be "playing with fire" if they pursued attacks on her Catholic faith during the hearings.

Biden is also a Catholic and would be only the second Catholic president if elected. He has also received scrutiny for his religious beliefs, which rather than putting them at odds with his political party more often put him at odds with his fellow believers. He was denied communion last year at a Catholic church in South Carolina for his support of abortion rights.