Papist or Jurist? New York Times Columnist Warns Of Inherent Conflicts Between “Catholicism and the American Ethos.” 

We have been discussing the anti-Catholic attacks on Judge Amy Coney Barrett and how various commentators are calling her a “cult member” and a religious “monster.” Most responsible writers and newspapers have condemned the attacks but the New York Times has run a column that appears to justify the attacks using the same anti-Catholic tropes.  (For the record, I was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic high school in Chicago). The column by Elizabeth Bruenig explains why the attacks may “not be entirely baseless” in exploring historical and philosophical sources. While I do not believe Bruenig holds or wants to advance long-standing anti-Catholic prejudices, the column references sources and advances stereotypes that are painfully familiar to many Catholics.

Before addressing the merits of Bruenig’s argument, which I strongly disagree with, I would like to make two threshold points. First, Bruenig is an excellent writer with an impressive background in religious studies from Brandeis, Cambridge, and Brown universities. She previously wrote for the New Republic, The Atlantic, and the Washington Post.  She is Catholic, extremely liberal, and offers an interesting perspective on these issues.

Second, I am not critical of the New York Times publishing the column. This is not a problem of inclusivity but hypocrisy.  The Times continues to publish highly controversial columns from the far left while promising not to run columns like the one penned by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton on the use of military force to quell rioting.  The Cotton column was factually correct, but objections from the left led to the removal of the editor and the cringing apology of the Times. In the meantime, those who pushed for renunciation of the column (and editors) have continued to tweet out utterly absurd and baseless anti-police conspiracy theories.  The Bruenig column is an example of how the New York Times has made the echo-chamber media into a deafening reality.  It is doubtful that the New York Times would publish a column exploring how a nominee’s Muslim or Jewish faith raises legitimate questions over their commitment to “American ethos.”

Now for the merits. Bruenig begins her column with the statement that “Critics of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee argue that pious Catholics are a problem for liberalism. They have a point.” The framing of the column in terms of “liberalism” is a tad misleading.  Critics of Barrett have said that she will follow church dogma blindly and erase any line between public and private values in legal analysis. That is more than some religious difficulty with “liberalism.” Bruenig herself makes this clear just a few graphs down in questioning whether there is “fundamental conflict, centuries underway, between Catholicism and the American ethos.”  She notes “Roman Catholicism does not readily distinguish between public and private moral obligations.”

Much of this discussion however concerns the common tensions between religion and public life that cuts across religions. It is called morality.  While a diehard secularist who has spent his life writing and litigating against morality based laws, I respect my friends and colleagues who argue for morality in the law as a foundational concept.  It has long been embraced as the touchstone of legal systems and many liberal writers rely on such arguments to advance legal positions.  Bruenig wrongly suggests that there is something about Catholicism that legitimately gives pause in reviewing nominees like Barrett.

Bruenig recounts how the philosopher John Locke warned that Catholics “could not be trusted to leave their faith in the appropriate sphere” and how that view “was not entirely baseless.”  I teach Lockean theory and love to discuss his brilliant theories from The Two Treatises of Government. Bruenig appears to be pulling from John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration. The work is ironically controversial for the same reason as Bruenig’s column: it speaks of tolerance while expressing intolerant views. Locke embraces the role of faith and civil values in government. However, when it comes to Catholics, his tolerance evaporates. Using common papist tropes, Locke warns that Catholics are not truly committed citizens because they are not “subjects of any prince but the pope.” Their faith, Locke claimed, is “absolutely destructive to the society wherein they live.”

Locke justifies his hostility with two general claims. First, because “where [papists] have power they think themselves bound to deny it to others.” In other words, Catholics seek power for themselves to oppress others.  Second, Locke insisted that Catholics “owe a blind obedience to an infallible pope, who has the keys of their consciences tied to his girdle, and can upon occasion dispense with all their oaths, promises and the obligations they have to their prince.”

Bruenig does not mention any of this anti-Catholic bias by Locke or the intense anti-Catholicism at the time that Locke was writing. Instead, she launches into how institutions like The Little Sisters of the Poor demanded exceptions to Obamacare. However, so did other religious groups. That is called a free exercise challenge that has been brought by Jews, Muslims, protestants, and virtually every other religion throughout our history.

Judge Barrett has declared that “judges cannot — nor should they try to — align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge. They should, however, conform their own behavior to the Church’s standard.” Yet, after noting that position, Bruenig returns to the sinister role of the Catholic Church and Locke:  “With individuals, this kind of resolution usually suffices. But Catholic institutions are another story: It is in their fortunes that Locke’s suspicions have proven most prescient.”

The column works too hard to rationalize the use of faith in scrutinizing a nominee.  While Bruenig takes a passing swipe at the most raw attacks on Barrett involving allegations that she belongs to a cult, she then justifies suspicions tied to her religion. The clear implication is that there really is reason to question the commitment of devout Catholics like Barrett to “American ethos,” as stated in Locke’s anti-Catholic diatribe.  This is why famed historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. called anti-Catholicism “the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people.”

There is, of course, another view of “American ethos” that is bound tightly with the free exercise of religion and religious tolerance. It is not found in papist attacks or anti-Catholic tropes but in the history of this country, including the service of great Catholic leaders from John Kennedy to Joe Biden to a host of Supreme Court justices. They did not seem to struggle with the “American ethos.” They helped define it.

568 thoughts on “Papist or Jurist? New York Times Columnist Warns Of Inherent Conflicts Between “Catholicism and the American Ethos.” ”

  1. It shows great courage in these days to oppose public officials based on their religious affiliation. I long to see them show that same courage and thought process used to oppose the Islamist serving in Congress and other positions of governmental authority.

  2. Whoa there. I went to both secular and non secular schools. Back in the 50’s and 60’s both taught that one of Luther’s condemnations of the Church was Catholic Priests living lives of sins and performing the duties of priesthood while not in a state of grace.

  3. God spulled backwards is dog. Those who call Trump a dog confuse things. A Cat O Lick often gets accused by others of being dumb. JFK was a Cat O Lick. He supposedly had sex with Marilyn Monroe at the White House. So did RFK. She called it the dong house.

  4. Here a great article about the Barrett smears so far. She is a racist for adopting two black kids from Haiti. She is a bad mother for working when she has kids. She’s a papist. She is a misogynist white woman. Her kids might be trans and she isn’t raising them properly. She speaks in tongues. Here is an excerpt:
    ————–
    If the Democrats were sane, they would go on the record objecting to Barrett’s (to them) bizarre fealty to the Constitution. They would also complain, although they have no constitutional basis for doing so, that the nomination and hearing should have waited until after the election. They should then accept with some semblance of dignity what is a fait accompli and acknowledge that, under the rules governing our system for almost 230 years, you win some and you lose some.

    But Democrats are not sane. They cannot stop themselves from the type of personal destruction tried to use against Justice Kavanaugh. Because Barrett is a model of rectitude, rape claims are out. Instead, they are alleging that she is a racist, a bad mother, and a religious fanatic. This post is a compilation of some of the Democrats’ most insane rants.

    Bewilderingly, Democrats claim that Barrett is a racist because she adopted two children from Haiti. Apparently, white parents who reach out to black babies that would otherwise be abandoned or even die are just using them as props to hide the fact that, like all white people, they are born racist and will die racist.

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/09/watching_the_democrats_compulsively_attack_judge_barrett_is_kind_of_fun.html
    ————

    Quite hilarious! And typically Democrat.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl reporter

    1. I tend to agree that cross-racial adoptions are fraught with emotional damage to the kids. Imagine if you were adopted by a wealthy black couple with five black kids, and your entire life you’re pointed to as an example of how wonderful the parents are: “they gave five children of their own, and one dirty, barefoot little white trash girl they adopted from Kentucky” Well wouldn’t that make you feel great! There are other ways to help poor children than holding them up for a lifetime of virtue signaling by the adoptive parents. Like send a check every month to the bio mother, or pay for boarding school in Haiti. Adopted children deal with enough emotional challenges without this type of unhealthy attention.

      1. Yes, but on the other hand, it isn’t like black kids are thriving as a group here in America. They are mostly illegitimate, stupid, violent and savage. They have to be to survive in the completely dysfunctional black “community.” The little girls are routinely molested by whatever POS the mom is shacked up with in order to pay the rent. The little black boys have to be savage to survive, and usually have the life ambition of being a rap star, or a drug dealer. Without a father in the family, there is no role model for self-control and they are raised by a matriarchy of belligerent, stupid weave-wearing morons. Their homes are nasty and they often have to fend for themselves and/or take care of the younger siblings. Their mothers do not encourage education and the cycle continues.

        Sooo, yes it is fraught with problems, but I have to think the black kids will be better off unless they turn out like Colin Kaepernick.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. There once was shrewy reporter
          Who gathered up hate like a hoarder.
          She was stupid and violent,
          and savage, ne’er silent
          Miss Fromm has a racist disorder.

  5. Here’s another thing I’d like her to be asked about: what does she think of Trump’s choice to nominate her before RBG was even buried? Barrett had previously commented on Garland being nominated in an election year when the nomination “could dramatically flip the balance of power on the court.” Does she view her own nomination similarly? Why did she agree to be the nominee under these circumstances (the circumstances being those she’d previously questioned with the Garland nomination + Trump’s clear expectation about filing an election-related lawsuit and wanting his nominee on the court to help decide it)?

    Meanwhile, Trump tweeted this morning “Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!” A reminder that Trump has been promising for years to present a better plan, but hasn’t presented it. He could have replaced the ACA when he had both chambers of Congress, but he didn’t do so.

    He also tweeted “I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night. Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???” I hope Biden takes him up on it. They should include testing for amphetamines. There are a lot of allegations that Trump abuses Adderall. Drugs abuse could certainly cause Trump’s strange pupil dilation (see, e.g., https://medium.com/@DrGJackBrown/body-language-and-medical-analysis-4221-why-are-donald-trumps-pupils-intermittently-so-large-f4d883c8126a)

    1. Well, if they buried the old biddy last week like they should have, it would not be a problem. Thankfully, tomorrow she will be six feet under and I pity the poor worms and bacteria that will feed off her. I hope her malevolence is not something that will spread to them, or we will have some sort of Lilith-like lamia slithering forth out of her grave at night to steal and and eat babies.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

        1. Hate??? Huh??? This is a matter of mythology.

          In the myth, the Lamia was originally a beautiful woman beloved of Zeus, but after Zeus’s jealous wife Hera destroyed all her children, or caused Lamia herself to kill her own offspring,[6] she became disfigured from the torment, transforming into a terrifying being who hunted and killed the children of others.[7]

          Diodorus Siculus (fl. 1st century BC) gave a de-mythologized account of Lamia as a queen of Libya who ordered her soldiers to snatch children from their mothers and kill them, and whose beauty gave way to bestial appearance due to her savageness. The queen, as related by Diodorus, was born in a cave.[8][9] Heraclitus Paradoxographus (2nd century) also gave a rationalizing account.[10]

          Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (vii.5) refers to the lore of some beastly lifeform in the shape of a woman, which tears the bellies of pregnant mothers and devours their fetuses. An anonymous commentator on the passage states this is a reference to the Lamia, but muddlingly combines this with Aristotle’s subsequent comments and describes her as a Scythian of the Pontus (Black Sea) area.[12][11]

          By the Early Middle Ages, lamia (pl. lamiai or lamiae) was being glossed as a general term referring to a class of beings. Hesychius of Alexandria’s lexicon (c. 500 A.D.) glossed lamiai as apparations, or even fish.[p][10] Isidore of Seville defined them as beings that snatched babies and ripped them apart.[10]

          The Vulgate used “lamia” in Isaiah xxxiv:14 to translate “Lilith” of the Hebrew Bible.[71] Pope Gregory I (d. 604)’s exegesis on the Book of Job explains that the lamia represented either heresy or hypocrisy.[71]

          Christian writers also warned against the seductive potential of lamiae. In his 9th-century treatise on divorce, Hincmar, archbishop of Reims, listed lamiae among the supernatural dangers that threatened marriages, and identified them with geniciales feminae,[72] female reproductive spirits.[73]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamia

          I think this is very reminiscent of Ruth “Baby Kill” Ginsberg.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

          1. Yes, Squeeky, hate. That you write things like “I pity the poor worms and bacteria that will feed off her” illustrates how hate-filled you are, and you make a lot of hate-filled comments (racist comments, etc.)

            1. I notice that you are good at “characterizing” speech – whether it is hateful or racist, and not very good at all at talking about the truth or falsity of speech.

              Ruth “Baby Killer” Ginsberg had her two children, but she was hell on wheels to babies of other women. I think “Lamia” is quite descriptive of her.

              Squeeky Fromm
              Girl Reporter

              1. “you are … not very good at all at talking about the truth or falsity of speech.”

                That’s false. ; -) My comments are filled with true claims, often substantiated by evidence, and I frequently note when other people make false claims, again often substantiated with evidence. In fact, I’ve done so more than once in my comments today (e.g., pointing out to Joane that “Your claim that ‘Two thirds of Congressional members are Catholic’ simply isn’t true” and providing evidence).

                1. Don’t blather with me. The next time you call my speech, “racist” – don’t. Instead, tell me what I am wrong about. If I call Ruth “Baby Killer” Ginsberg a monster, for advocating for the “right” to kill babies, don’t say that is “hate speech” – tell me why I am wrong about her being a sure vote for abortion while she was on the bench.

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

    2. Here’s another thing I’d like her to be asked about: what does she think of Trump’s choice to nominate her before RBG was even buried?

      You mean if her family declines to bury her, she cannot be replaced? In my neck of the woods, burials are commonly postponed for months because the ground is frozen. Antonin Scalia was buried in a week. My mother was buried in six days. Ginsburg’s family is taking their time with this, waiting about two weeks before burying her. Jewish custom is burial ASAP, so this is irregular. I’m assured by one of the paid trolls who comment here that she was an adherent of religious Judaism.

      1. “You mean …”

        No. It that’s what I’d meant, that’s what I would have said.

        “Antonin Scalia was buried in a week.”

        And Obama didn’t nominate Garland until weeks later.

        “Ginsburg’s family is taking their time with this, waiting about two weeks before burying her.”

        She died on the evening of the 18th at the start of Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur starts tonight / ends tomorrow night, and she’ll be buried on Tuesday.

        “Jewish custom is burial ASAP”

        Often, but not always. It is sometimes postponed during holidays, to allow family to arrive, to honor the wishes of the deceased (who might instead choose to be cremated or to donate their body to medicine) …, and in this case, to allow the public to pay their respects as she lay in repose / lay in State. To quote a Rabbi, “I can say with great certainty that there is not a singular Jewish way to mourn, to bury, to grieve.” To quote another Rabbi, “there is no violation [of burial Halachah]. The honors paid to Justice Ginsburg by the United States by placing her body in State far exceeds the tradition to bury a Jew as soon as possible.”

        “I’m assured by one of the paid trolls who comment here that she was an adherent of religious Judaism.”

        I must have missed it. I’m unaware of their being any paid trolls here. Allan trolls a lot, but I hadn’t realized that he was paid for it. Same for George and some others.

        1. “Allan trolls a lot, ”

          Allan has a tendency to correct lies and distortions. Allan patiently waits for the other person to correct the record or show him he was wrong. Allan doesn’t mind learning new things. Needs to be Committed is one of those unreliable folk. She makes all sorts of claims hiding the true issue and its answer. Totally dishonest type of debate.

          CTDHD said: “She died on the evening of the 18th at the start of Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur starts tonight / ends tomorrow night, and she’ll be buried on Tuesday.”

          The above is totally dishonest. Jewish tradition is known to promote burying the dead ASAP, preferably within 24 hours along with every body part possible. Very frequently they will bury the dead the next day. CTDHD once again is trying to divert attention. The holidays were right on top of another. That is a lie. There is one entire week between the two so the next day probably would mean the first of the seven days of the interval time span.

          My bet from my little understanding of Ginsberg is that she would have decided to be buried between the two holidays. Of course maybe she wasn’t as traditional as her leftist followers are now saying. That brings us to another point that may have been mentioned by CTDHD and that is the family saying on her deathbed she wouldn’t want her replacement to be dictated by Trump. That sounds a bit outlandish if she is the person the left portrays her to be. I cannot believe that on her death bed Ginsberg would have said such a thing unless her Jewish religion was placed in the back seat and replaced with the amoral leftist religion.

    3. ” Does she view her own nomination similarly? Why did she agree to be the nominee under these circumstances (the circumstances being those she’d previously questioned with the Garland nomination ”

      Based on CTDHD’s reputation of distorting what other people have said it appears she is doing this again. Is CTDHD attributing hypocrisy to Barrett about a statement Barrett didn’t make? I would like to see the exact quote in context. CTDCD’s reputation for accuracy is quite poor.

      Here is one statement from Barrett: “But I think the question is, what does this precedent establish? And I don’t think it establishes a rule for either side in the debate.”

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court-2016-interview-confirming-justices-election-year/

      1. Allan the Stupid asks to “see the exact quote in context” when CTHD already quoted part of it and his own CBS article has the entire sentence, “We’re talking about Justice Scalia, you know, the staunchest conservative on the court, and we’re talking about him being replaced by someone who could dramatically flip the balance of power on the court.”

        1. That is your interpretation from a small snippet and the advice of leftist hit pieces. There is not even a conclusion in the quote you provide. Barrett ,as my quote indicates, has been quite neutral in this type of political decision. You can provide the full quote and context, but you won’t because that is beyond your intellectual capacity.

          You are very quick to demonstrate your own Stupidity in support of another leftist but not in support of the truth. That is not atypical for you. I think at the time she was a professor discussing historical precedents not drawing the conclusion you surmise and desire. You wouldn’t know that because you are a headline reader and one that searches the left for a quick answer to your problems. That is a sure way for you to remain Stupid.

          1. Allan the lazy, if you want to hear everything she said, you can click on the internal link in your own CBS News article and watch the entire 2016 segment. Is that beyond your intellectual capacity?

            1. Anonymous the Stupid, you are making a claim that is not validated in what she said. I can’t prove a negative but you can prove a positive. Go ahead Stupid, prove it.

                1. “Allan the Stupid, if you can’t prove a negative, that’s your problem.”

                  Anonymous the Stupid, too most people on this blog you have proven yourself more Stupid than Hank Johnson.

                  My guess is that many on the blog are shaking their heads at your answer and some even those that don’t like me are laughing at you and you don’t even know why. Pitiful.

                    1. Anonymous the Stupid, you are too Stupid to even understand what Wikipedia is saying.

                      If you say in that in a text or video the name Walmart existed in word or picture and it didn’t exist there is no way one can prove the negative. It simply isn’t there even if you think it is. If you actually go back to that text or video and look for the word or picture of Walmart and can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. If you can find it you can show it or prove it.

                      Are you an adult? How old? What school grade have you attained?

                      If you are an adult then even more people are now looking at you and laughing.

                    2. Allan the Stupid, you are too Stupid to even understand what Wikipedia is saying.

                      Are you an adult? How old? What school grade have you attained?

                      If you are an adult then even more people are now looking at you and laughing.

                    3. Anonymous the Stupid, if you are a child you should let us know so we can help you progress.

                      More likely you are a Stupid adult that hopefully no child ever has to rely on for knowledge. I am sure your public school system near you has night courses you can take. It would be good if you could boost your level of education to at least 6th grade.

  6. Of course the Democrats will try to smear Judge Barrett. It is what they do. Look at that farcical Kavanaugh hearing where they stood behind the obvious lying Christy Crazy-Ford and her laughable story about being afraid of flying and having two front doors in her home because Kavanaugh supposedly felt her up back in the 80s at a drunk-teenager party. How stupid. The liar had no problem flying to New Zealand to surf. Anyway, I digress. I think the upcoming character assassination deserves an Irish Poem!

    Chagrin, and Barrett???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    The Democrats hated Judge Barrett!
    And their lying smears? They had no merit!
    For them, Ruth was a mensch,
    And they wanted the bench,
    Their liberal theories to parrot!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. Folks, let’s skip all the fancy talk and just accept the Democrats will once again savage a Good Person with demonstrated character and ethical conduct and do so purely for political reasons.

    The Leftists see the end to their control of the Court and their ability to push their agenda by means of the legal system which until Trump came along was pretty much filled with activist Judges who have far too often legislated from the Bench.

    The Confirmation process should focus upon the Nominee’s Judicial Record, not their religious views or their lifestyle.

    What we saw in the Kavanaugh Hearing shall be repeated by the same politicians….the sleaziest of Congress.

    Why do we allow such conduct….that certainly is not contained in the American Ethos the good Professor mentions.

    That American Ethos demands Due Process, and Religious Tolerance, and just down right plain old decency….none of which shall be displayed by the Democrats.

    They attack this fine Woman and Judge, not for her background and proven ability, but because she was nominated by President Donald J. Trump.

    Otherwise, they would do as Republicans have in the past and look to her fitness to serve on the highest court of the Land….and you can pick any of the current members of the Court for your example…..beginning with Justice Ginsburg.

    Let’s not mince words here….what is going to happen is evil and directly opposed to the our American Ethos.

    We see the beginning of this savage attack….even the Good Professor tells us of it and takes issue with it as he does.

    The very attack on Kavanaugh and now this excellent Judge and downright decent person demonstrates exactly why we need Justices who embrace that American Ethos.

    I very much look forward to seeing the Judge confirmed and seated on the Supreme Court…..as that shall be a step towards regaining that American Ethos so needed by this Nation.

    1. Yes. Sorry, Prof, but there *are* no merits to this column, and and it is really, really getting tiresome. The double standards just make it worse. The left wing media are a lost cause, right along with the DNC. Never voting dem again.

  8. I hope a Democrat asks Coney Barrett about the legality of some of the views of Laura Loomer, a GOP Islamophobe running for the House in FL, such as “Muslims should not even be allowed to seek positions of political office in this country” and “I never want another Muslim entering this country EVER AGAIN!” It will allow Coney Barrett to address religious bigotry without making it all about her own religion.

    There are plenty of writings to ask her about as well, such as: “Adherence to originalism arguably requires, for example, the dismantling of the administrative state, the invalidation of paper money, and the reversal of Brown v. Board of Education” and in the same article about “the arguably unconstitutional state of West Virginia” and “the possibly illegitimate Fourteenth Amendment,” where footnotes refer the reader to other writings “exploring originalist arguments that the admission of West Virginia to the United States did not comply with the Constitution” and “that irregularities in the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment pose a problem for originalism.”

    1. I hope in reply Coney Barrett asks the same question of any Democrat who asks her of that question…..noting the opposition to her Catholic faith being such an issue.

      She would be exactly right to challenge the attacks on her Religious views on exactly the same basis…..as the standard should be one sided…. right?

      The exact same standard should apply to all of us…..under the concept of Due Process and the Rule of Law…..or do you cling to the common Liberal practice of preaching tolerance all the while practicing in-tolerance?

      1. There is no Democratic “opposition to her Catholic faith” in Congress. Biden is Catholic. Pelosi is Catholic. AOC is Catholic. Obama nominated Sotomayor, who is Catholic. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more Democratic Catholics in Congress than Republican Catholics.

        It’s not Barrett’s role in her nomination hearings to ask questions of Senators.
        It’s also unclear what “same question” you want her to ask. Do you want her to ask their views on whether Laura Loomer’s proposals that “Muslims should not even be allowed to seek positions of political office in this country” and rejection of “another Muslim entering this country EVER AGAIN!” are constitutional?

        1. Oh come on. There are all kinds of “Catholics,” from those who were baptized in the faith but never practiced, to those like Sotomayor who was raised Catholic but stopped attending mass once she got to college, to those like Pelosi and Biden who attend mass but do not adhere to the tenants of the faith, to those who strongly adhere to church teachings in their daily lives, to those who follow the more extreme practices of groups like Opus Dei. Simply to say that someone is Catholic is about as meaningless as saying someone is Jewish. He could be someone who has no interest whatsoever in religion, to an adherent of Hasidim.

          1. I don’t think it’s meaningless to say that someone self-identifies with a particular faith. You and I have different opinions about that.

            I don’t know enough about Catholicism to judge whether “Pelosi and Biden … adhere to the tenants of the [Catholic] faith.” (BTW, the word you want is “tenet,” lots of people confuse that with “tenant.”)

            Again, I don’t see evidence of Democratic opposition to Catholic faith per se. But as the NYT article notes, Barrett and her co-author wrote that “[Catholic] judges cannot — nor should they try to — align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge. They should, however, conform their own behavior to the Church’s standard.” “While mere identification of a judge as Catholic is not sufficient reason for recusal [from capital cases] under federal law, the authors suggest that the moral impossibility of enforcing capital punishment in such cases as sentencing, enforcing jury recommendations, and affirming are in fact reasons for not participating.” This raises questions about whether she would recuse in a capital case before SCOTUS and whether there are other such cases (e.g., about abortion) where she believes that “conform[ing] [her] own behavior to the Church’s standard” would require her to recuse.

            And Republican Senators have asked her things like the following in her previous hearing:
            Ted Cruz: “I’ve read some of what you’ve written on Catholic judges and in capital cases, and in particular, as I understand it, you argued that Catholic judges are morally precluded from enforcing the death penalty. I was going to ask you to just please explain your views on that because that obviously is of relevance to the job for which you have been nominated.”

            She also deflected answering related questions in her previous confirmation. For example, she was asked the following:
            “Your article Catholic Judges in Capital Cases also states “The prohibitions against abortion and euthanasia (properly defined) are absolute; those against war and capital punishment are not.” Besides recusing yourself from entering orders of execution as a trial court judge, are there other circumstances where you believe you would have a moral obligation to recuse from certain judicial proceedings, if you had been appointed to a different judgeship? For example, do you also believe you would need to recuse yourself from participating in judicial bypass proceedings for minors seeking abortions, had you been nominated to serve on a court that heard such claims?”
            Her answer was “I have not had occasion to consider that question. If I am confirmed to the court for which I have been nominated, I will fully and faithfully apply the law of recusal, including 28 U.S.C. § 455 and the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. In any case in which the law requires me to recuse, I will do so.”

            It’s relevant for her to be asked to address issues about her own writings.

            1. If she’s going to lean on Catholicism, I hope someone asks about the dark corners. I’m from Irish Catholic roots and I grew up hearing stories about how my grandmother (who grew up in a brothel) left the Catholic church when the church demanded money from my rum running grandfather during prohibition. And in my younger basketball days, actually getting recruited to play on various CYO teams, I seem to remember running across a whole host of adults who were closet diddlers. Not to paint the whole Catholic church with this broad brush…, but if you want to talk Catholicism, it’s important to get the whole picture because my experience isn’t that unusual.

    2. The difference is that Catholicism, no matter its rituals, is a religeon; whereas islam is a military dictatorahip only masquerading as a faith.

      1. Alma, “islam is a military dictatorahip only masquerading as a faith” is both false and Islamophobic.

    3. “I hope a Democrat asks Coney Barrett about the legality of some of the views of Laura Loomer, a GOP Islamophobe running for the House in FL, such as “….

      I guess Needs to be Committed wants to ask Barrett whether or not she believes in the First Amendment. That would be a silly question to ask.

      Of course what CTDHD is really trying to do is slime Barrett because CTDHD doesn’t have the knowledge or ability to debate Barretts merits intelligently. Instead she substitutes sensationalism that may or may not have quoted someone correctly or in context.

  9. Look at the NYT front page today and you will see that they are a promotional and public relations arm for the DNC. In addition to their hatred for conservatives, they disdain Christians, contitutionalists and law abiding citizens, while supporting violent extremists. It has quite literally become Pravda or China Daily, no more than a paper written almost exclusively to endorse and support one political party. They work to destroy their political enemies like a clandestine coup. Anyone who considers it a legitimate news source has some thinking to do!

    1. One of the disgusting aspects of the Kavanaugh imbroglio was the college roommate who had shared a dormitory suite with him (from September 1983 to January 1984) making accusations and issuing anathemas on CNN. They’re scrounging the student body of Rhodes College right now looking for someone right now. Or they’ll get to it when they’re done trying to dig up dirt on her adoption proceedings.

  10. Jonathan: I appreciate the good work you do, but wish you would clean up your grammar and syntax before you hit “send”. I generally agree with your opinions, but the obvious errors probably diminish your credibility with some critics. If you do not have time to carefully edit your work every morning, it might be better to send out fewer items – maybe just a couple a week.

    1. Boy, do I agree with that. I practiced law for 50 years and would have had a “career talk” with any associate who would hand me a product like that. Put me in the category of “some critics”.

      1. WOL,

        Speaking of a “…career talk…” and “…a product like that…,” you do appear knowledgeable.

        Can you describe to an ignorant layman how attorneys’ fee of 33 1/3% are not arrived at by anything other than actions of anti-trust and criminal collusion?

        I anxiously await a relevant epiphany.

    2. Lou — give him a break! this is free high quality material, several times a day, in addition to his teaching and other duties. I prefer the thoughtfulness w/ some grammatical issues vs no commentary…..

      Stay Calm, Stay Well, and Carry On!

      1. I agree. I’ll take the typos if we continue to get the analysis and the conversation. Forest for the trees, folks. This blog is tremendously important, and at times I am convinced some readers here are the real residents of ivory towers. This stuff isn’t going to simply ‘blow over’, and this is currently one of the only places on the web that offers what it does in relation to that. Chill.

  11. She is Catholic, extremely liberal, and has an interesting perspective on these issues.

    The Catholic intelligentsia and church-o-cracy is shot through with people Amy Welborn described as steeped in ‘bored out of their minds careerism’. Add to that an almost gnostic sense of themselves as sophisticates contra the orthodox pew sitters, orthodox clergy, and previous generations who generated the body of Catholic thought as it was in 1960.

    Nothing in her academic history suggests more than a passing interest in economic life (there are several economic sociologists at Brown where she studied, but the main brain in that subdiscipline wasn’t employed there when she was enrolled).

  12. Turley is wrong. He is continuing to avoid making a crucial distinction between questioning the openly espoused, specific religious ideas of a judicial nominee that reasonably may be regarded as inconsistent with the ecumenically secular project of the U.S. Constitution (as evinced by the Preamble, if nothing else), which is most certainly NOT to bring in the Kingdom of God, and religious bigotry, which would dismiss, demean, or persecute someone categorically because of their religious identity. The diffetence us subtle, but it is nonetheless real, and Turley is smart enough to distinguish the two.

    1. the real role of the senate is to investigate her past rulings to ensure that has not been happening. and of course it hasn’t been. so instead dems will pretend that it could happen and wring their hands hysterically throughout the process. and then the next time they are up for reelection, part of their own campaign will be to hypocritically remind voters that they are indeed good churchgoing folk. gotta love politicians.

        1. No, Roberts, Kavanaugh, Alito and Thomas are Catholic. Gorsuch was raised Catholic but converted to Episcopalian; Sotomayor was raised Catholic but hasn’t attended mass since college.

    2. So wortmanberg… you would prefer a lie-beral of a Marxist stripe ?. An intolerant my way or the highway type of goon on the court ?. It seems you do by attacking one soley due to religion and demeaning their education and accomplishments.

    3. You have that right, But no matter how hard Barrett tries to obfuscate her position in the coming days, hard-right conservatives know that her elevation to the court is a reliable vote against women’s rights. Why are they so sure about her legal views? Because Barrett herself has argued that she cannot and, more important, should not enforce secular laws that go against her religious beliefs.

      If you read one thing about how Amy Coney Barrett’s religion would affect her ability to serve as a Supreme Court justice, read her own words. She addressed that matter in an article for the Marquette Law Review titled: “Catholic Judges in Capital Cases.” There, Barrett argued that Catholic judges should recuse themselves from cases that involve the death penalty. She argued that the Catholic Church’s moral stance against the death penalty might make it impossible for Catholic judges to dispense the impartial justice citizens are entitled to.

      1. “Catholic Judges in Capital Cases.”

        You apparently do not understand the role of recusal in such cases. These moral questions are not hinderances rather assurance against the immoral actions of those that surround you. Morality is what keeps this country together. Immorality such as leftist rioting, looting, killing and destruction of neighborhoods is what breaks this country apart.

          1. Independent, that is a good question. However, we see a lot of judge shopping on the left looking to hinder things that could aid the lives of normal citizens.

      2. “her elevation to the court is a reliable vote against women’s rights.”

        This is your typical sleezeball way of promoting your immorality. Do you have trouble dealing with women that can actually work and take care of children? What type of sexist are you?

      3. her elevation to the court is a reliable vote against women’s rights.

        There have not been any privileges or immunities of consequence denied to women in the last century.

  13. The potential for bias because of religious beliefs is there, as is the potential for bias due to conservative ideology. Barrett is conservative and Catholic. Her Catholicism reinforces her conservative views. If she were evangelical her evangelicalism would reinforce her conservative views. She cannot come out and refer to her Catholicism when offering up legal opinions but the influence is there. In a perfect world, as the founders intended, there would be a more complete separation between church and state. It has been illustrated through the positions various justices have taken that the Constitution can be argued from opposite directions resulting in opposite results; all done within the framework of legal mumbo jumbo. The problem here is not with Barrett’s Catholicism but with the make up of the court. The majority of Americans are not religious conservatives, as is Barrett. Yet the majority of Americans will now have the final legislative body rule in favor of the minority. This is the issue at hand.

    1. issach – well said. she’s only worth three million dollars, so there’s that to consider. People that claim to be religious aren’t any better/benevolent than those who aren’t. Progress cannot be stopped, but jurists like her can sure slow it down.

      1. billy ; So a person’s net worth is an issue now …..and you do the schoolyard “people that are nanny nanny boo boo religious are no better than me ” tripe. But you give yourself away with Progress will be slowed by jurists like her. So what is exactly progress to you …socialism…big brotherism…which is it ?. It’s assuredly one of the two as you hail from the far left. The thought that ‘progress’ now has a different connotation than the actual word is the very bane of our society today. Because it does have a different definition …progress is the new religion of the left…everything is progress or death to these types. Intolerance , violence…in the name of “their progressive views”. Brownshirts , and communists !.

    2. the majority of americans are not progressives either, so by your logic all the hagiography of ginsburg’s influence on the court was just as damaging.

      the real issue is abortion and how it has had an incalculable influence on the politicization of the nomination process. the healthiest thing for the court would be to overturn that and let congress do their job.

      1. The majority of Americans are not necessarily progressive, but they understand, to one degree or another, more or less consciously, that the Constitution is not a religious document or an attempt to bring in the Kingdom of God, and that it reflects a commitment to an explicitly secular “shared work of the moral and political imagination.” Ginsburg, a secular Jew, who was not trying to bring in the Kingdom of God as a Supreme Court Justice, was prima facie closer to furthering that mission than a Catholic who openly and notoriously would try to do so. I’m not saying that Barrett would do the latter, but it is valid to question her about it.

        1. Ginsburg was a religious Jew, not a secular Jew; however, she was committed to a secular interpretation of the Constitution.

          1. If you were to ask an Orthodox Jew if Ginsberg was a Jew they would reply yes. Ask them if she were a faihful adherent to Judaism and you would get a different answer. Apples and oranges a false argument.

            1. Alma, one can be a religious Jew without being Orthodox, and most American Jews aren’t Orthodox, so it’s truly bizarre that you think the views of Orthodox Jews are the only ones that matter here.

              Ask RBG’s Rabbi whether she was a religious Jew.

            1. I’m a secular Jew, “Art.” You aren’t. So I’m going to trust my knowledge about this better than yours. Ginsburg was a religious Jew. She worshipped at Adas Israel synagogue in DC. Maybe you’re confusing “religious” and “Orthodox,” which aren’t synonyms.

              1. I’m a secular Jew, “Art.” You aren’t.

                I gather they told you to stay in character.

                I used to be friends with a woman who served a term as President of Congregation Beth Hemedresh in Rochester. She had a mezuza on her door and she kept kosher (more or less). She was a professed non-believer.

        2. Progressives or liberals are democratically represented in the majority in the only segment of government, the Congress, that reflects democracy. The Senate does not and obviously the Presidency does not. The Senate, the Electoral College, and the Supreme Court are the three least democratic elements of US governance. America’s ‘check and balance’ system is failing.

        3. Barrett is by all accounts a devout Catholic. To the extent that faith informs her courtly duties is a burden of proof shouldered by those raising that concern rather than her needing to prove herself innocent in some kind of witch trial throwback.

      2. The majority of Americans support abortion being legal with some restrictions. So no, let’s not “overturn that.”

        The simplest approach to reducing the # of elective abortions in the U.S. is to encourage women who don’t want to become pregnant to use LARCs (long-acting reversible contraception, such as IUDs and subdermal contraceptive implants), make sure that they’re always covered by health insurance, and provide health insurance to everyone.

        1. The majority of Americans support abortion being legal with some restrictions. So no, let’s not “overturn that.”

          There was no justification for interfering with the judgment of state legislatures on the matter. And the ‘restrictions’ people favor would put 95% of the abortionists in this country out of business.

          1. SCOTUS clearly disagrees with you that “There was no justification for interfering with the judgment of state legislatures on the matter.”

            “the ‘restrictions’ people favor would put 95% of the abortionists in this country out of business.”

            Like your friends here, you’re fond of making evidenceless claims. A majority of Americans support abortion being legal during at least the first trimester. The CDC’s abortion survellance stats: “The majority of abortions in 2016 took place early in gestation: 91.0% of abortions were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (7.7%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.2%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation.”

            1. SCOTUS clearly disagrees with you that “There was no justification for interfering with the judgment of state legislatures on the matter.”

              So what? They’re full of it and everyone knows it.

        2. CTHD, a simpler approach than your suggested one is to have men get vasectomies. Why must women get your suggested LARC implant medical devices, when they have multiple side effects (some of which are irreversible)? The men can get the vasectomy reversed later too…. just saying….

          1. By all means, also encourage men who don’t want kids to get vasectomies. They can’t always be reversed effectively, though.

          2. DV, it’s not about women ‘must’ get the long term IUD’s. It’s about having the choice to do so without religious conservatives dictating thru law that they can’t. Insurance pays for impotence drugs. Insurance should cover contraception as well. The side effects are irrelevant if women make the decisions with knowledge of the side effects. It’s the whole point of being able to make that choice.

            Vasectomies are not guaranteed to be reversible. But if men are to have the choice, women should have the choice too. Currently religious conservatives are against contraception because they believe it’s another form of abortion.

            More women could have access to drugs such as plan B.

            1. “religious conservatives dictating thru law”

              You lack morality. That is why you do not understand why they felt the need to separate themselves completely from the act. You are too selfish to respect the needs of others.

        3. Yeah but that’s communism or socialism, or common sense. That doesn’t fly in Republican bizarro land. Abstinence means abstaining from having sex, talking about sex, teaching anything to do with sex, even not using the word, sex. Cuz, kids, by golly, raise themselves.

      3. If the people voted for the present abortion laws, then the Supreme Court should have nothing to say, unless it is an extension of the political machine. The elected representatives of the people in their majority voted for these laws. If the political make up of the system changes, then that is what should change the law, not the Supreme Court.

        1. Isaac, my sentiments too. If abortion legalization had been passed by the states, similar to how marijuana legalization is happening now, there wouldn’t be all this fighting and hand-wringing over the Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade. The states should have legalized it as their voters demanded it. The legalization would have been more gradual in certain states, certainly, but also more accepted by those who lived in that state.

          1. The states should have legalized it as their voters demanded it

            Nope. Four states made their abortion laws more lax in the six year period prior to Roe. A scrum of states refused to do so, one of them just weeks before the decision was handed down.

  14. And once again the Pinkos demonstrate the fundamental hypocrisy of their beliefs.

    Watch the left cancel the opposition for being less than faithful to lefty “tolerance” while embracing discrimination.

    1. Rest In Peace, Religious Tolerance. Alongside Due Process and Freedom of Speech. What next in the graveyard of American values? From the secularist left the only religion deemed ‘appropriate ‘ is the cult of our modern Puritans, the Woke.

      1. Agreed. Having spent time in uniform many years ago, and seeing the growth of militant leftism in America , it’s no small leap to see how the left’s dogma is a religion to these oh so anti-religious fervor types. Ever talk to a die hard atheist…. they are so atheist it is a religion to them and part of their religion is to attack anything …and intolerance is a virtue to these vacant people.
        I’m hardly religious to any degree myself , but I do see the tenants of morality that various religious beliefs in the creation of our country and society have lent to it to our benefit. Without morals people are just animals. And thus we become George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” …. INTOLERANT DIVISIVE SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM…….. the religion of the left.

    2. I suspect the anti-Catholic approach won’t be heavily emphasized during the confirmation process. That just doesn’t work politically for those senators, especially with Biden and Pelosi being Catholic. But the NY Times and the rest of the media can still bring it up to create an elephant in the room dynamic.

      Oh, and let’s not forget that this same line of reasoning was used against JFK.

      1. Actually, it was not yhe same. I was alive then and the general fear was that yhe US President would take his marching orders from the Pope. This situation is just progressive values up against mainstream values masquerading as anti-catholicism.

      2. Biden and Pelosi have valid baptisms. That’s it. The number of serious Catholics in the Congressional Democratic caucus approaches zero. Dan Lipinski was arguably one of the few. He got bounced in a primary election this year.

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