Dianne Feinstein Attacks Trump Nominee for Her Faith: 'The Dogma Lives Loudly Within You'
On Wednesday, Democratic senators continued to apply a religious test to another of President Donald Trump's nominees. In June, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) applied an unconstitutional religious test to Russell T. Vought. This week, at least three Democratic senators similarly questioned federal judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the judiciary committee, declared.
Feinstein's comment seemed to be a thinly veiled attack on Barrett's position that the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade — which legalized abortion throughout the 50 states — was wrongly decided. Feinstein, who supports abortion, asked then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch if he considered Roe a "super precedent" that cannot be reversed.
Barrett, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, holds the orthodox Roman Catholic position that life begins at conception. Even so, she made clear earlier in the hearing that she would not overturn legal decisions based on personal opinion.
"It is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions whether it derives from faith or personal conviction," Barrett declared.
Even so, Feinstein and other Democratic senators attacked her faith.
Senate minority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) questioned Barrett's use of the term "orthodox Catholic," suggesting that it unfairly insults Catholics who do not oppose abortion or the death penalty, positions held by the Roman Catholic magisterium, the final authority on Catholic doctrine. Durbin himself is a Roman Catholic who abandoned his previous pro-life position.
"Are you an orthodox Catholic?" he asked Barrett.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) also commented, "I think your article is very plain in your perspective about the role of religion for judges, and particularly with regard to Catholic judges."
In another exchange, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) repeated talking points from the defamation organization the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which labels mainstream conservative and Christian nonprofits "hate groups." His questions ran like an inquisition into Barrett's ties with the "hate group" that advocates for religious freedom.
National Review's Alexandra DeSanctis pointed out that these attacks echo the concerns of a report from the Left-wing Alliance for Justice, which alleged that Barrett "would put her personal beliefs ahead of the law" if confirmed as a federal judge.