Perhaps that’s because Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation seems, at the moment, very likely. The bulk of the hearings will take place on Tuesday, when Barrett answers questions from senators.
Accomplished fact – As South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham pointed out, it’s very likely to be an almost completely partisan affair, with Republicans putting her on the bench as soon as possible, and Democrats believe that although they represent a larger portion of Americans, they so often seem to be foiled by Republicans more adept and cunning at exploiting the rules.
A Catholic majority at Court. I am personally amazed that Barrett will cement not only a Conservative majority, but a Catholic majority on the pitch as well.
This is particularly incredible since we have only ever had one Catholic president. (It was JFK. Joe Biden would do two). And in Congress, less than a third of the membership is Catholic.
According to the Congressional Research Service:
- 54.9% of the deputies (233 in the House, 60 in the Senate) are Protestants, Baptist being the denomination most represented, followed by Methodists;
- 30.5% of the deputies (141 in the Chamber, 22 in the Senate) are Catholic;
- 6.4% of the deputies (26 in the Chamber, 8 in the Senate) are Jewish;
- 1.9% of members (6 in the House, 4 in the Senate) are Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints);
- 2 members (1 in the House, 1 in the Senate) are Buddhists, 3 representatives are Muslims and 3 representatives are Hindus;
- Other religious affiliations represented include Greek Orthodox, Pentecostal Christians, Unitarian Universalists, and Adventists.
“… that would mean that the six Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents were raised Catholic. Two of them – Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first candidate – then attended Protestant churches in the adulthood, although Thomas later returned to Catholicism. “
This, he points out, despite the fact that “Catholics represent a smaller part of the GOP electoral coalition than mainline Protestants and in particular Evangelical Protestants; these evangelicals are by far the largest faction. religious party, according to annual studies of the non-partisan public religion. Research Institute. “
The proportion of Jewish judges is also higher than the percentage of Jewish lawmakers in the House and Senate.
There is a Protestant justice – Gorsuch – in a predominantly Protestant country.
Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s senior political adviser, told Brownstein that religion did not influence Bush’s decision, even though Bush ultimately selected two Catholic judges.
“The fact that Roberts and Alito were Catholic was known but not a factor in their appointment, neither for nor against,” he wrote. “Their judicial philosophy, their character, their background in the federal judiciary, their relative youth, even their geography were discussed as considerations, not their religious affiliation. the last three appointed republicans were evangelicals! ‘) was not considered by 43. “
I think this is true for Bush and probably also for Trump. This makes us wonder why the court has become so dominated by a group of people who share a key trait.
How can this happen? Brownstein: “Catholic domination in these selections,” say many observers, “reflects both ideological convergence and institutional divergence.
Ideological convergence is that conservative Catholics, including those in the legal field, have shown as much commitment to conservative social causes, especially the ban on abortion, as evangelical Christians.
Institutional divergence is that there is a much stronger legal network – from well-respected law schools and court registries to lower court appointments – to provide conservative Catholics with the credentials needed to secure a Supreme Court appointment than for evangelical Protestants.
Should it matter? Barrett’s religion certainly shouldn’t matter. She did not mention it in her opening statement. And a key part of this country is supposed to be a government that does not favor any religion.
Questioning a judicial candidate on the right to abortion is now equated with religious intolerance. Brownstein argues that abortion has united religious conservatives – Protestants and Catholics – so much that now Democrats’ criticism of Barrett’s position on abortion is being attacked by Republicans as examples of religious intolerance.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein drew the line herself when she told Barrett in 2017 why Democrats opposed it. “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 religion has its own dogma. Law is totally different, ”Feinstein said. “And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion that one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s worrying.”
Those comments, which have become something of a Conservative rallying cry over religious intolerance, were absent from Feinstein’s opening statement at Barrett’s hearing on Monday.
Feinstein didn’t even mention abortion – the issue that has been so important in American elections and jurisprudence since the 1970s.
On the contrary, Feinstein said Democrats would focus their time on Obamacare, which now seems more divisive than abortion, and the idea that if, as expected, Barrett sided with the Tories in court to dismantle the law, that would leave tens of millions of Americans without health insurance.
But it is a truly incredible thing that rights play such a tiny role in upholding a justice that can hold the power to change them in such a dramatic way.