Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Prominent Criticism of Senate Democrat Bigotry Against Amy Barrett

Last week I briefly noted Alexandra DeSanctis’s Corner post that soundly took issue with the anti-Catholic bigotry embedded in questions posed to Seventh Circuit nominee—and Notre Dame law professor—Amy Coney Barrett by Senate Democrats Dianne Feinstein Dick Durbin, and Mazie Hirono. On Friday, Carrie Severino added a fine post here on Bench Memos.

Over the weekend, the criticism of Senate Democrats spread. In a letter to Feinstein, Notre Dame president John Jenkins explained why he found her questioning “chilling.”

Even more noteworthy (given that he had no institutional incentive to speak out on the matter) was Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber’s letter to the Judiciary Committee. Eisgruber, a former clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens and a constitutional scholar with expertise on religious freedom and judicial appointments, objects that “the questions directed to Professor Barrett about her faith were not consistent with the principle set forth in the Constitution’s “no religious test” clause.” He further observes (as I did here) that the law-review article of Barrett’s that Democrats used to attack her expresses views that “are fully consistent with a judge’s obligation to uphold the law and the Constitution.”

And today’s New York Times—often home to anti-Catholic bigotry—even includes an excellent op-ed by Sohrab Ahmari, titled “The Dogma of Dianne Feinstein,” that likewise objects to Feinstein’s display of “religious animus” and notes that her “accusations were based on a mangled understanding of Ms. Barrett’s work.”

Addendum: Here’s an excellent piece by Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, “Feinstein’s Anti-Catholic Questions Are an Outrage.”


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