Democratic Senators Attack Catholic Judicial Nominee Over Religion

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) / Getty
September 7, 2017

Democratic senators on Wednesday attacked federal judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, over her faith.

Barrett's Catholic religion was brought under the microscope by Democratic senators during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Law Newz reported.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) referred to a 20-year-old article Barrett co-wrote, entitled "Catholic Judges in Capital Cases." Feinstein told Barrett that, based on the article, it was clear "the dogma lives loudly within you."

Feinstein was not the only Democratic lawmaker to attack Barrett based on her faith.

"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. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) said.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) asked Barrett about her religious beliefs and called her an "Orthodox Catholic" based on Barrett's use of the term in the 1998 article. Barrett clarified for Durbin that she used the term only for lack of a better one for "observant Catholic."

"I am a Catholic, Senator Durbin," Barrett said.

Barrett plainly said her faith would not have a place in her role as judge.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) rose to Barrett's defense and pointed out that the line of questioning by Democrats was unconstitutional.

"I think some of the questioning that you have been subjected to today seems to miss some of these fundamental constitutional protections we all have," Sasse said.

The Constitution prohibits scrutiny of a public official's religious beliefs.