Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) asked Notre Dame Law School professor Amy Coney Barrett, a nominee for a federal appeals court, on Wednesday.
Since Durbin inquired in the form of a question, we can only assume that Barrett’s answer was pertinent to the confirmation. That is problematic, considering that the Constitution explicitly states that no religion — not even a belief in orthodox liberalism — should be a prerequisite for holding a federal office.
At least Durbin’s query about “orthodox” Catholicism was based on some concocted apprehension about Barrett’s ability to overcome faith to fulfill her obligations as a judge. The professor, who apparently takes both the law and her faith seriously enough to have pondered this question in writing, told Durbin, “Any kind of conviction, religious or otherwise, should never surpass the law.”
But Barrett’s Catholicism would come up a number of times during the hearing, and in far more troubling ways.
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) claimed. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” What dogma is Feinstein talking about?
For one thing, Barrett’s real sin, as it were, isn’t that her faith might get in the way of doing her job, but that chances are exceptionally high she will take her oath to defend the Constitution far more seriously than Feinstein does. When the California senator claims to be troubled by Barrett’s “dogma,” what she was really saying was: “You clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, which means you’ll probably take the Constitution far too literally. Yet, at the same time, you hold heretical personal views on the only two constitutional rights that my fellow liberals are dogmatic about: abortion and same-sex marriage.” You know, the “big issues.”
Read more at National Review.