This is what happens when you nominate someone without extensively vetting her first.
I’ve been fairly adamant in saying that Amy Coney Barrett shouldn’t be questioned about her Catholic faith, except for when it could interfere with her Supreme Court decision-making. Even though the whole nomination charade right now is utterly illegitimate, she should be able to explain how she handles the law when her faith may contradict it, especially when she’s written articles saying religion should override the law.
None of that is anti-Catholic. It’s part of the basic grilling of any judge. But reports are starting to come out about Barrett’s beliefs as they could apply to the law. (Since that’s all that really matters.)
It doesn’t help when Barrett’s religious sect, People of Praise, is scrubbing its records of anything mentioning her.
… an analysis by the Associated Press shows that People of Praise erased numerous records from its website during the summer of 2017 that referred to Barrett and included photos of her and her family.
At the time, Barrett was on Trump’s shortlist for the high court seat that eventually went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Last week, when Barrett again emerged as a frontrunner for the court, more articles, blogposts and photos disappeared.
A spokesperson for the group said the deletions were a matter of protecting members’ privacy. But if the content was publicly available until only recently, that’s hardly a good excuse. Why would birth notices or photos be of any use to anyone looking for information about what kind of justice she would be?
It would be far more concerning if the group had statement positions on birth control, abortion, homosexuality, and other hot-button issues. Those are nowhere to be found on their website right now. Which means the best information we have comes from former members of the group:
Former female members of the group told AP earlier this week that wives were expected to obey their husband’s wishes in all matters, including providing sex on demand.
One of the women also said she was forbidden from getting birth control because married women were supposed to bear as many babies as God would provide.
Those are anecdotal, but any religious group that didn’t believe those things should make it very easy to find that out. Not the case here.
Since archives of the religious group’s website are available, it’s actually easy to track what’s gone missing. Or at least what the group is no longer highlighting. Consider what some people have already pointed out about their beliefs, based on a snapshot of the group’s website from 2008 (which was changed soon after):
With the Spirit we can do things that only God can do! When the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) they received power–power to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, change the world. Through the same Spirit we too have that power.
They think they can raise the dead. People of Praise is hardly the only religious group that believes such nonsense, but the lack of critical thinking there is clear.
No matter what they erase, Barrett can’t get rid of everything. As we’re now learning, in 2006, she signed an anti-abortion statement that referred to a “right to life from fertilization to natural death.” (That’s anti-euthanasia, too.)
The ad that Barrett signed her name to was actually a two-page spread in the South Bend Tribune, and the full ad specifically calls for "an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade".
This is as clear a position as you'll ever see from a judicial nominee.
Here is the full ad: pic.twitter.com/PcZCcu89MS
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 1, 2020
The Guardian also notes today that the group sponsoring that statement she signed also believes in vitro fertilization should be criminalized.
Again, her Catholic beliefs, crazy as they may be, wouldn’t necessarily preclude her from being on the Supreme Court. But her beliefs appear to take firm stances on issues that will come before the court, which means she would have to decide whether her religious beliefs should take a back seat to legal precedent. If she refuses to do that, she shouldn’t be on the Court even in normal times, which these are not. In any case, senators must ask her these questions.
I don’t think any of it will make a difference, since Republicans are eager to get her confirmed no matter what they discover about her, but the public deserves to know how warped her views are. They certainly aren’t in the mainstream when it comes to religion, and that’s important to consider if she’s deciding the legality of laws that apply to all of us.