Senate confirms controversial Trump nominee to appeals court
The Senate confirmed a Notre Dame law professor to a Chicago-based federal appeals court Tuesday despite widespread criticism from advocacy groups.
Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Tim Kaine (Va.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) joined Republicans in the 55-43 vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Barrett has claimed that ObamaCare’s birth control mandate is “a grave violation of religious freedom” and questioned the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Civil rights groups were quick to slam the Senate for approving the Trump pick’s nomination.
“Today’s vote continues the Senate Republicans’ record of rubber stamping all of President Trump’s judicial nominees,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement.
“Our federal courts should be comprised of fair and independent judges who will safeguard the rights of all people in America, but Professor Barrett’s record shows that she will not be such a judge,” she said.
Gupta claimed Barrett’s past statements and writings show a strong, personal bias against reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights, as well as a dangerous lack of deference to long-standing precedent and judicial restraint.
At her confirmation hearing, Barrett denied that she would put her religious beliefs above the law.
The liberal Alliance for Justice pointed to an article she co-wrote which said “Catholic judges (if they are faithful to the teaching of their church) are morally precluded from enforcing the death penalty. This means that they can neither themselves sentence criminals to death nor enforce jury recommendations of death.”
Barrett said she has always rejected the proposition “that a judge should decide cases based on a desire to reach a certain outcome.”
The Catholic Association came to Barrett’s defense, calling the criticisms against her an “attack” on her Catholic faith.
“Amy Coney Barrett’s qualifications for the federal judiciary are undisputed, but abortion industry advocates continue their smear campaign by attacking Barrett’s Catholic faith,” the group’s legal adviser, Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, said in a statement.
“The full Senate rejected their attempt to hang a ‘Catholics need not apply’ sign outside the Senate chamber when it considers candidates to the judiciary,” she said.