A conservative group has asked Senate Judiciary Democrats to sign a pledge promising that they will not attack Judge Amy Coney Barrett on matters of her Catholic faith during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.
The pledge explicitly highlights the “no religious Test” section of Article VI of the Constitution, as well as the First Amendment’s guarantee to freedom of worship. The pledge reads as follows:
“I, _______________________, along with my staff, hereby pledge to respect the clear text and full spirit of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion, as well as the prohibition on religious tests in Article VI of the United States Constitution, at all times before, during, and after Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing,” the Article III Project pledge reads. “Further, neither I nor my staff will direct or participate in any attacks, veiled or explicit, on Judge Barrett’s faith, whether at the hearing or in the press, either on the record, on background, or off the record.”
The pledge was published by Article III Project, a group dedicated to defending and promoting President Trump’s judicial nominees. They describe themselves as “veterans of the war for a judiciary that respects the rule of law,” and they proudly support Trump’s recent nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
“We will fight tooth and nail to confirm President @realDonaldTrump’s third Supreme Court pick before the election,” the Project recently posted to Twitter.
The pledge was created out of concern for the religious line of questioning that Democrats have used in recent years during judicial nomination hearings.
In 2017, during the hearings for Barrett’s appointment to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Dianne Feinstein told Barrett, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”
Meant by Feinstein as a criticism, “The dogma lives loudly within you” has since been embraced by the right as a badge of honor.
Likewise, the pledge points to similar attacks on religious faith by Dick Durbin, Kamala Harris, and Mazie Hirono.
Last month, Senator Hirono (D-HI) said that Barrett’s faith is not off-limits: “Look, it wasn’t her religious views – it’s anybody’s views that they bring to their decision making…how can we be assured that they can be objective?…Why should we say you get a lifetime appointment so that you can reflect your ideological agenda in your decision-making?”
Barrett has stated on several occasions the importance of making decisions based on the rule of law alone, including during her 2017 confirmation hearings when Senator Dick Durbin asked her if she was an orthodox Catholic:
“If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and I’m a faithful Catholic,” she responded, “- I am, although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge.”
Similarly, she stated during those same hearings that, “I would decide cases according to rule of law, beginning to end, and in the rare circumstance that might ever arise – I can’t imagine one sitting here now – where I felt that I had some conscientious objection to the law, I would recuse. I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law.”
“The Constitution guarantees the right to free exercise of religion and bars all religious tests for federal office,” said Mike Davis, founder of the Article III Project. “Over the past several years of confirmation hearings, Senate Judiciary Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, Dick Durbin, and Mazie Hirono have clearly demonstrated that the anti-Catholic bigotry lives loudly within them. That is unacceptable, unconstitutional, and we challenge every Democrat on the Committee to sign the Article VI pledge and refrain from any and all attacks on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholicism.”
The hearings are scheduled to begin on October 12th, despite arguments from Senate Democrats that it is unsafe to do so.