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The ‘frontrunner’ to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a staunch Catholic who believes marriage is between a man and a woman

Lily Wakefield September 22, 2020
Catholic potential supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett was told at her 2017 confirmation hearing: "The dogma lives loudly in you." (YouTube)

Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s reported “frontrunner” to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court, is a devout Roman Catholic who believes that marriage is only between “a man and a woman”.

Barrett, a Seventh Circuit Court judge, has been widely reported as Trump’s “frontrunner” to fill the seat left vacant by the late Ginsburg, and reportedly met with the president at the White House on Monday (September 21), according to the Independent.

She was a top contender to replace justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018, when she lost out to out to Brett Kavanaugh. Sources told Axios that Trump said at the time: “I’m saving her for Ginsburg.”

As Trump prepares to announce his nominee by Saturday (September 26) at the latest, concerns are already swirling over Barrett’s anti-gay beliefs and membership of a religious group that declares that husbands are the leaders of their wives.

‘Dogma lives loudly’ in Supreme Court hopeful Amy Coney Barrett.

A part-time University of Notre Dame law professor, Amy Coney Barrett, 48 has previously espoused her view that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In 2015, while working as a full-time faculty member at the University of Notre Dame, the potential supreme court nominee joined a group of Catholic women in signing a letter in support of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

The letter stated that signatories supported “the Church’s teachings… on the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women; on openness to life and the gift of motherhood; and on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman”.

In 2017, Barrett was grilled by Democratic senators during her confirmation hearing to become a United States circuit judge on whether her staunch Catholic beliefs would affect her judgement on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.

Senator Dianne Feinstein told Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

Lamda Legal was among 27 LGBT+ rights groups opposing Barrett’s confirmation to the Seventh Circuit at the time.

In an open letter, the groups shared concerns about how “her religiously-infused moral beliefs would inform her judicial decision-making about issues of concern to the communities that our organisations serve, particularly where personal moral beliefs differ from the requirements of law”.

The letter noted that while Barrett has written that “super precedents” are “decisions that no serious person would propose to undo even if they are wrong… When asked whether she would describe any of the landmark LGBT rights decisions as super precedents, Professor Barrett equivocated that she has ‘not undertaken an independent analysis of whether any particular case qualifies’.”

Supreme Court ‘frontrunner’ is a member of a group which runs schools where teenagers are banned from discussing their sexuality.

Barrett is a member of the Catholic group People of Praise, founded in 1971, which declares that husbands are the leaders of their wives.

The group’s members take loyalty oaths, and are each accountable to a same-sex adviser; men are referred to as “heads”, and women were, until recently, referred to as “handmaids”. They are now called “woman advisers”.

People of Praise also runs a group of middle and high schools named Trinity Schools.

Explaining its teaching on sexuality, Trinity states: “We understand marriage to be a legal and committed relationship between a man and a woman and believe that the only proper place for sexual activity is within these bounds of conjugal love.”

The schools also insist that teenagers are not allowed to even discuss their sexuality.

The schools’ “culture of learning” states: “At this age, some students may also experience same-sex attraction. We believe that it is unwise, however, for teens to prematurely interpret any particular emotional experience as identity-defining.”

If Donald Trump’s nominee replaces Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court, a strong conservative majority could remain in place for decades.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at her home on Friday evening (September 18) from complications of metastatic cancer of the pancreas, prompting an outpouring of love and praise for the equal rights champion and feminist icon and an immediate political firestorm.

Democrats have called for a delay in replacing Ginsburg, following a precedent set during the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency, when Republicans senate majority leader Mitch McConnell declared a replacement would not be approved, and that the next president would instead choose his or her pick following the election.

However on Friday (September 18), McConnell was adamant that a vote would be held on Trump’s nominee. Ted Cruz has argued that there is a different precedent for times when the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party, which wasn’t the case under Obama.

Until Ginsburg’s death, the supreme court had a 5 to 4 Republican majority. Should Trump’s nominee be appointed, this would shift to a stronger 6 to 3 conservative majority which could remain in place for decades, shaping major legal decisions in the US for years to come.

More: Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, supreme court

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