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Biden Staffer Suggests ‘Intolerant’ Views of Orthodox Catholics, Jews, Muslims Should Disqualify Them from Supreme Court

Former vice president Joe Biden and his sister Valerie Biden Owens are greeted by Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Basilica, 2013. (Osservatore Romano/Reuters)

A staffer on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign on Monday suggested that Orthodox Catholics, Jews and Muslims should not be allowed to serve on the Supreme Court because of their “intolerant” beliefs.

The comments came during a Twitter conversation between Biden campaign deputy data director Nikitha Rai and Brookings Institute senior fellow Shadi Hamid in which Rai attacked Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic beliefs. A search for Rai’s Twitter account now yields a message saying, “This account doesn’t exist.”

Hamid had responded to a tweet that said Barrett was a trustee at a Catholic school that opposed same-sex marriage as homosexual acts are “at odds with Scripture.” Hamid replied, “Wait, why is this news? Isn’t this the standard position for any orthodox Catholic?” 

“Unfortunately yes,” Rai said. 

When Hamid pointed out that Orthodox Muslims and Jews generally hold the same view, Rai said, “True. I’d heavily prefer views like that not be elevated to SCOTUS, but unfortunately our current culture is relatively intolerant. It will be awhile before those types of beliefs are so taboo that they’re disqualifiers.”

The former vice president often touts his Catholic faith on the campaign trail, though critics note that some of Biden’s positions — such as his support for abortion and same-sex marriage — stand in opposition to Catholic teachings.

Barrett’s faith has been widely scrutinized in the media as “extreme” and cult-like since the president announced he would nominate the 48-year-old Notre Dame professor to fill the vacancy on the Court left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett, a former clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, has been attacked for her faith for years now, beginning with her 2017 confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee when Democrats questioned whether her Catholicism should disqualify her from being a judge.

“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that dogma and law are two different things, and I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said at the time.

“The conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein added. “And that’s of concern.”

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