Tag: Barrett

Supreme Court: Democrats and Republicans seek hints for how Barrett will rule on health care law

For the second day of Barrett’s questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the health care law was a dominant topic on both sides of the aisle thanks to the looming November case the Supreme Court will hear on a Republican effort to strike down the law.

Both Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat, asked President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee about the legal doctrine of “severability,” or whether the entire law can stand if one part of it is deemed unconstitutional, during Barrett’s second day of questions before the committee on Wednesday.

It’s a concept that could play a key factor in the case from Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act case next month. They argue the entire law, commonly known as Obamacare, should be struck down because the law’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional.

Barrett explained to Feinstein, a California Democrat, that severability was like a game of “Jenga.”

“If you picture severability being like a Jenga game, it’s kind of like, if you pull one out, can you pull it out while it all stands? If you pull two out, will it all stand?” Barrett asked. “Severability is designed to say well would Congress still want the statute to stand even with the provision gone?”

Graham, during his questioning of Barrett, seemed to suggest he thought that the Affordable Care Act could be saved because of severability, saying the doctrine’s “goal is to preserve the statute if that is possible.”

“From a conservative point of view, generally speaking, we want legislative bodies to make laws, not judges,” Graham said, before asking Barrett, “Would it be further true, if you can preserve a statue you try to, if possible?”

“That is true,” Barrett said.

“That’s the law folks,” Graham responded.

The challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law from Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration has become a central issue in this year’s election in part due to Barrett’s confirmation. Democrats have focused their arguments during Barrett’s confirmation hearings on the way the law has provided care for individuals.

But Senate Republicans, who back the lawsuit to kill the law, have backed away from that implication in the lead-up to Election Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is also up for reelection, said during his debate Monday that “no one believes” the Supreme Court will strike down the entire law.
Graham, who is facing a tough reelection fight this year, raised the severability argument but also launched into another attack on the health care law, “Obamacare is on the ballot.”
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The South Carolina Republican praised Barrett’s record, comparing her to Obama’s nominees Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, calling Barrett the first woman nominated to the high court who is “unashamedly pro-life.”

Just as they did during Tuesday’s lengthy questioning, Democrats sought to pin down Barrett on a number of topics she could hear in the future, including voting

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‘It’s not the law of Amy’: SCOTUS nominee Barrett faces Dem skepticism on Day 2 of hearings

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett batted away Democrats’ skeptical questions Tuesday on abortion, health care and a possible disputed-election fight over transferring presidential power, insisting in a long and lively confirmation hearing she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases “as they come.”

The 48-year-old appellate court judge declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics. She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Donald Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the Nov. 3 election.

“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda — I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion — and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee during its second day of hearings.

“It’s not the law of Amy,” she said. “It’s the law of the American people.”

Barrett returned to a Capitol Hill mostly locked down with COVID-19 protocols, the mood quickly shifting to a more confrontational tone from opening day. She was grilled by Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s nominee yet unable to stop her. Excited by the prospect of a judge aligned with the late Antonin Scalia, Trump’s Republican allies are rushing ahead to install a 6-3 conservative court majority for years to come.

The president seemed pleased with her performance. “I think Amy’s doing incredibly well,” he said at the White House departing for a campaign rally.

Trump has said he wants a justice seated for any disputes arising from his heated election with Democrat Joe Biden, but Barret testified she has not spoken to Trump or his team about election cases. Pressed by panel Democrats, she skipped past questions about ensuring the date of the election or preventing voter intimidation, both set in federal law, and the peaceful transfer of presidential power. She declined to commit to recusing herself from any post-election cases without first consulting the other justices.

“I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process,” she said.

A frustrated Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, all but implored the nominee to be more specific about how she would handle landmark abortion cases, including Roe v. Wade and the follow-up Pennsylvania case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which confirmed it in large part.

“It’s distressing not to get a good answer,” Feinstein told the judge.

Barrett was unmoved. “I don’t have an agenda to try to overrule Casey,” she said. “I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”

She later declined to characterize the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion as a “super-precedent” that must not be overturned.

Democrats had no such reticence.

Let’s not make any mistake about it,” said California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic

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Amy Coney Barrett dodges abortion, healthcare and election law questions

On the second day of hearings before the Senate judiciary committee, Democrats pressed supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on healthcare, election law and abortion rights – and met with little success.



a person standing in front of a counter: Photograph: Demetrius Freeman/EPA


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Photograph: Demetrius Freeman/EPA

Related: ‘Slayer Pete’: Buttigieg emerges as Biden’s unlikely Fox News fighter

Donald Trump’s third nominee for the highest court dodged questions on how she might rule on a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA); if she would recuse herself from any lawsuit about the presidential election; and whether she would vote to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v Wade, which made abortion legal.



a man standing in front of a counter: Supreme court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies during the Senate judiciary committee hearing on Tuesday.


© Photograph: Demetrius Freeman/EPA
Supreme court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies during the Senate judiciary committee hearing on Tuesday.

Barrett argued that she was not a pundit, citing remarks by Justice Elena Kagan and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg in saying that outside of reviewing a specific case, it was not her place to offer a position.

“No hints, no previews, no forecasts,” Barrett quoted Ginsburg as saying, after the California senator Dianne Feinstein questioned her about how she might rule in any case challenging the legality of abortion.

Barrett is a devout Catholic whose previous statements and affiliations have been closely examined by Democrats and the media. Trump has said overturning Roe v Wade would be “possible” with Barrett on the court.

At another point in Tuesday’s hearing, Barrett cited Kagan in saying she would not give “a thumbs up or thumbs down” on any hypothetical ruling.

Most of the questioning from Democrats centered on the ACA, known popularly as Obamacare, and how a ruling by the high court overturning the law would take away healthcare from millions of Americans. A hearing is due a week after election day. Democrats see protecting the ACA as a productive electoral tactic, having focused on it in the 2018 midterms, when they took back the House.

Barrett said she was not hostile to the ACA, or indeed abortion or gay rights, another area worrying progressives as the court seems set to tilt to a 6-3 conservative majority. Barrett said she was simply focused on upholding the law.

“I am not hostile to the ACA,” Barrett said. “I apply the law, I follow the law. You make the policy.”

Video: Barrett refuses to address whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned, despite prodding from Sen. Feinstein (CNBC)

Barrett refuses to address whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned, despite prodding from Sen. Feinstein

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Asked about gay rights, Barrett said: “I would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”

Her choice of words conspicuously suggested that to her, sexuality is a choice. Amid scrutiny of Barrett’s past, meanwhile, it has been reported that she was a trustee at a school whose handbook included stated opposition to same-sex marriage

Republican senators also questioned Barrett on healthcare, the Iowa senator Chuck Grassley asking if she had been asked during the nomination process if

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Amy Coney Barrett Hearing: Why She Accepted on the Nomination

During his questioning at this morning’s round of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham asked the judge how it feels to be nominated for the Supreme Court.

Barrett’s reply was thoughtful and very humanizing. Here’s what she said:

I’ve tried to be on a media blackout for the sake of my mental health but you can’t keep yourself walled off from everything. I’m aware of a lot of caricatures that are floating around. I think what I would like to say in response to that question is, look, I’ve made distinct choices. I’ve decided to pursue a career and have a large family. I have a multiracial family. Our faith is important to us. All of those things are true, but they are my choices. In my personal interactions with people, I mean, I have a life brimming with people who’ve made different choices, and I’ve never tried in my personal life to impose my choices on them. The same is true professionally. I apply the law.

Senator, I think I should say why I’m sitting in this seat in response to that question, too, and why I’ve agreed to be here. I don’t think it’s any secret to any of you or the American people that this is a really difficult, some might say excruciating process. Jesse and I had a very brief amount of time to make a decision with momentous consequences for our family. We knew that our lives would be combed over for any negative detail. We knew that our faith would be caricatured. We knew that our family would be attacked. We had to decide whether those difficulties would be worth it, because what sane person would go through that if there wasn’t a benefit on the other side?

The benefit, I think, is that I’m committed to the rule of law and the role of the Supreme Court and dispensing equal justice for all. I’m not the only person who could do this job, but I was asked, and it would be difficult for anyone. Why should I say someone else should do the difficulty? If the difficulty is the only reason to say no, I should serve my country. My family is all in on that because they share my belief in the rule of law.

Not much questioning has taken place yet, but so far, Barrett has done an excellent job of demonstrating that commitment.

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Keith Olbermann: Amy Coney Barrett, Trump supporters must be ‘removed from our society’

Keith Olbermann is having no trouble finding his voice after leaving ESPN for the third time last week, declaring during his new political commentary show on YouTube that President Trump’s supporters and his “enablers” like Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett should be prosecuted and “removed from society.”

Mr. Olbermann announced last week that he was exiting his contract with ESPN early in order to “serve my country” with daily anti-Trump commentary on YouTube ahead of the Nov. 3 election. During the second episode of his show, “The Worst Person in the World,” he hypothesized that Mr. Trump would reject the results of the upcoming election and would not willingly leave the White House if he loses. And even if this “demonic president” did by chance concede defeat, he would immediately announce afterward that he is seeking reelection in 2024, Mr. Olbermann claimed.

Thus, Mr. Olbermann argued, Mr. Trump “must be expunged.”

“The hate he has triggered, the Pandora’s box he has opened, they will not be so easily destroyed,” he said. “So, let us brace ourselves. The task is twofold: the terrorist Trump must be defeated, must be destroyed, must be devoured at the ballot box, and then he, and his enablers, and his supporters, and his collaborators, and the Mike Lees and the William Barrs, and the Sean Hannitys, and the Mike Pences, and the Rudy Gullianis and the Kyle Rittenhouses and the Amy Coney Barretts must be prosecuted and convicted and removed from our society while we try to rebuild it and to rebuild the world Trump has nearly destroyed by turning it over to a virus.

“Remember it, even as we dream of a return to reality and safety and the country for which our forefathers died, that the fight is not just to win an election, but to win it by enough to chase — at least for a moment — Trump and the maggots off the stage and then try to clean up what they left,” he continued. “Remember it, even though to remember it, means remembering that the fight does not end November 3, but in many ways, will only begin that day.”

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Yes, the Barrett Hearings Are About the Election, Not the Law

(Bloomberg Opinion) — The Amy Coney Barrett nomination hearings have started and guess what? They’re just as much of an election-year circus as everyone expected them to be.

Back in 2016, when Republicans claimed that nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice during an election year was a violation of the electorate’s right to choose, they were fond of citing something they called the “Biden rule.” In fact, what Joe Biden said when he was Judiciary Committee chair in the summer of 1992 was that if a vacancy were to arise after his June 25 speech, he would urge President George H.W. Bush to wait to nominate a new justice until after the election, and at any rate he would not hold hearings until afterward.

Why? Because “where the nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such circumstances is a partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Well, judging from the opening statements in these confirmation hearings, Biden knew what he was talking about.

Indeed, several Democrats have barely mentioned the nomination. They’re talking about the pandemic and how Donald Trump has handled it, and most of all they’re talking about the Affordable Care Act.

There’s a hook to link the nomination to the ACA. The Supreme Court is about to hear a case that could knock out that law, and Democrats have repeatedly invoked Trump’s own claims that a new justice would help overturn Obamacare. But what Democrats seem mostly interested in is using their high-profile time to give campaign speeches about health care — the single policy question that helps Democrats the most with swing voters.

As for the Republicans? They’re going with a campaign talking point accusing Democrats of attacking Judge Barrett for her religion and of being anti-Catholic bigots. That the Democrats are not actually doing so isn’t slowing them down (nor is the fact that Joe Biden and the Democratic House speaker are Catholics).

After all, some Democrats somewhere and some journalists have mentioned her religious beliefs, so the Republicans act as if all Democrats are running an anti-Catholic campaign.(1) Indeed, Missouri Republican Josh Hawley was particularly creative; he came up with the preposterous claim that a mention of Griswold v. Connecticut, a key case in establishing the right to privacy, was an attack on Catholics.

Beyond that, Republicans trotted out their old talking points about judicial activism, and how judges should interpret the law, not make the law. Whatever the merits of these claims decades ago when they were first used, they’re badly dated now.

After all, it is Republicans and conservatives who are seeking to overturn the ACA and many other laws; it is conservative justices who took apart the Voting Rights Act in the Shelby County case. But parties don’t necessarily change their talking points, which their voters recognize and have come to embrace, and Republican voters have traditionally been motivated by arguments about

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Law scholar Jonathan Turley takes on Chris Wallace regarding Amy Coney Barrett and the Affordable Care Act

Law scholar Jonathan Turley took on Fox News’s Chris Wallace regarding Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court and the Affordable Care Act.





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“You need, truly, waders to get through the rising hypocrisy from both parties. That’s nothing new. Both parties are adopting the opposite views that they had in 2016. Although I’m not too sure the Democrats would be doing anything different if they were given this vacancy and this opportunity. But I want … Chris Wallace raises some good points. The lower court did strike down the ACA, but there … does not appear to be a majority of votes from our count of overturning the entire Act. In fact, the betting money is that conservatives might join liberals,” Turley said on Monday on Fox News.

Wallace interjected, “Jonathan, if I may, you know, the point I’m simply making is this: That’s what the court did. You are predicting how judges, including one who is not even on the court yet, are going to vote. I’m just saying.”

“No,” Turley said.

“Let me finish. You don’t know what’s going to happen, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. But the fact is for Democrats to talk about the cases of these individual people, and to say that their lives might be at stake is not an irrational leap. That’s the case that’s being heard by the court,” Wallace continued.

The segment broke for a commercial break but allowed Turley to respond when it returned.

“Well, what concerns me is that this is becoming a sort of milk carton hearing with all of these pictures surrounding the nominee. And the members making arguments of policy, saying how important the ACA is. At the same time, they are accusing her of being overtly political. Those are not consistent positions. They are arguing for the policy and benefits of the ACA to a future justice who is not supposed to consider her decision on policy. She just looks at whether law is constitutional or legal in every respect,” he said.

“Where Chris and I disagreed is that yes, the ACA was struck down by the lower court judge. But the betting of most legal experts is that at least two conservative justices will support sending it back to sever the one provision found to be unconstitutional. So my point is only that the assumption being made, being brought here with all of these pictures, is that this future justice is going to end healthcare for all these individuals. That’s just not likely, and more importantly, the arguments on the merits of the ACA, in my view, are really inappropriate for a confirmation hearing,” he added.

Barrett’s first day of hearings began Monday morning. Barrett is expected to be grilled by senators on issues such as healthcare and abortion beginning Tuesday.

Tags: News, Fox News, Amy Coney Barrett, Affordable care Act, Supreme Court

Original Author: Emma Colton

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Republicans defend Barrett confirmation hearing; Democrats warn she would overturn healthcare law

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned of a “long, contentious week” of confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, but pledged to try to deliver a fair process as Republicans aim to sprint President Trump’s nominee to the court by election day.



a group of people sitting at a table: Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett arrives for her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP)


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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett arrives for her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP)

“This is probably not about persuading each other unless something really dramatic happens,” Graham said, addressing the senators in the hearing room and those watching remotely. “All the Republicans will vote yes and all the Democrats will vote no,” he predicted.

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Graham defended Republicans’ decision to move the nomination so close to the November election following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Graham previously promised twice that he would not fill a Supreme Court vacancy if it occurred in an election year. Those assurances came after Republicans in 2016 blocked President Obama from filling a vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, saying it was too close to the election.

“Republicans should honor this word,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) of Graham’s promise, “and let the American people be heard. Simply put, I believe we should not be moving forward on this nomination. Not until the election is ended and the next president has taken office.”

Republicans appear to have the votes to confirm Barrett just days before the election.

“There is nothing unconstitutional about this process,” Graham said.

Democrats are pinning their strategy to block the nomination on tying Barrett to the possible elimination of the Affordable Care Act. The fate of the law will be decided by a Supreme Court case to be heard shortly after the election.

“We can’t afford to back to those days when Americans were denied coverage,” Feinstein said, pointing to past comments by Barrett about problems with the 2010 law.

Republicans view Barrett’s nomination as a rare opportunity to create a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court majority as well as energize voters to turn out at the ballot box for the president and Senate Republicans in increasingly difficult races.

Two Senate Republicans have voiced opposition to confirming a nominee so close to the election after Republicans blocked President Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, after Scalia died in February 2016.

Barrett, a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge and former professor at the University of Notre Dame, plans to tell the committee that “policy decisions and value judgments” should be made by elected officials, not the courts, according to her prepared remarks.

Her opening statement, released Sunday, emphasizes a respect for precedent and settled law, and a view that the courts are “not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.”

The tension around Barrett’s confirmation hearing has only increased in the wake of two Judiciary Committee Republicans coming down with COVID-19. Both senators could have

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Amy Coney Barrett: Senate opens hearing into Trump Supreme Court pick

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Media captionWatch live coverage as Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing begins

Amy Coney Barrett, US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is going before the Senate Judiciary Committee for what could be a fiery confirmation hearing over the next four days.

The 48-year-old conservative jurist has vowed to judge legal cases impartially.

Judge Barrett’s nomination so close to the 3 November presidential election has sparked a political row between the Republicans and rival Democrats.

Judge Barrett’s approval would cement a conservative majority on the top court.

Conservative-leaning justices would then hold a 6-3 majority, shifting its ideological balance for potentially decades to come.

President Trump picked Judge Barrett to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month aged 87.

The Republicans – who currently hold a slim majority in the US Senate, the body that appoints Supreme Court judges – are now trying to complete the process before Mr Trump takes on Democratic rival Joe Biden in the election.

Who is Amy Coney Barrett?

  • favoured by social conservatives due to record on issues like abortion and gay marriage
  • a devout Catholic but says her faith does not influence her legal opinion
  • is an originalist, which means interpreting US Constitution as authors intended, not moving with the times
  • lives in Indiana, has seven children including two adopted from Haiti

Read more: Who is Trump’s Supreme Court pick?

The court’s nine justices serve lifetime appointments, and their rulings can shape public policy on everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance.

Democrats fear Judge Barrett’s successful nomination would favour Republicans in politically sensitive cases that reach the Supreme Court.

In his opening statement as the hearing began, committee Chairman Lindsey Graham described Ms Barrett as being “in a category of excellence, something the country should be proud of”.

What will Judge Barrett say in her opening remarks?

In what is effectively an interview for the job, the confirmation hearing will give Judge Barrett a chance to explain her legal philosophy and qualifications for the lifetime post.

In prepared remarks released ahead of Monday’s meeting, Judge Barrett thanks President Trump for “entrusting me with this profound responsibility”, which she calls the “honour of a lifetime”.

In the speech, Judge Barrett will speak of the importance of her family and how her parents prepared her for a “life of service, principle, faith, and love”.

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Media captionAmy Coney Barrett: “I will meet the challenge with both humility and courage”

Judge Barrett will pay tribute to judges she has worked with, including former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Justice Scalia’s reasoning “shaped me”, Judge Barrett will say. “His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were.”

Judge Barrett will say she has “resolved to maintain that same perspective” in her legal career.

It is up to elected politicians to make “policy decisions and value

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Amy Coney Barrett scrutinized over religion vs. law

Second of two parts.

Professor Amy Coney Barrett, addressing law school graduates at Notre Dame University in 2006, delivered a stark admonition to the future lawyers: She told them a law career was “but a means to an end.”

“That end is building the kingdom of God,” she said. “If you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.”

As confirmation hearings begin Monday for Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, she will have to answer just how different a lawyer — and judge — her faith has made her.

To her detractors, she is a “Catholic judge.” To her supporters, she is a judge who is Catholic.

The difference between those views dominated her confirmation hearing three years ago, when she won a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The hearings this week are shaping up like a rerun, with Judge Barrett’s faith the chief question before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and am a faithful Catholic, I am, although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in my discharge of duties as a judge,” Judge Barrett told senators in her October 2017 hearings.

That answer was unsatisfactory to Democrats, and they peppered Judge Barrett with pointed questions.

Republicans said the questioning was so unseemly that it began to look as if they were applying a religious test for seeking a federal office, which the Constitution specifically prohibits.

Democrats countered that the matter wasn’t about Judge Barrett’s faith, but rather how much it affects her public life.

“The dogma lives loudly within you,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the committee.

The judge opened the door to the issue herself in 1998 with a law review article titled “Catholic judges in capital cases.”

She suggested that an “orthodox Catholic” who adhered to the church’s teaching against capital punishment should recuse from signing an execution order.

Her critics said she was putting faith above the law. Her backers said she was doing just the opposite: saying faith must give way when the law calls for an outcome.

In fact, she was charting a middle ground, where a judge could be faithful to her own beliefs while allowing someone else to carry out the law’s obligation.

“Judges cannot — nor should they try to — align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge,” she concluded. “They should, however, conform their own behavior to the Church’s standard.”

In a speech last year to Hillsdale in D.C., the Washington campus of Hillsdale College, Judge Barrett delved deeper into the matter by saying it was folly to think only Catholic jurists grapple with their moral codes and their duties to the law.

“That’s not a challenge just for religious people. That’s

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