The NYT 'Picks Up Where Feinstein' Left Off Attacking Catholic Judicial Nominee

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Posted: Sep 28, 2017 4:45 PM
The NYT 'Picks Up Where Feinstein' Left Off Attacking Catholic Judicial Nominee

Earlier this month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and some of her rude colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee interrogated judicial nominee Amy Barrett about her Catholic faith. "The dogma lives loudly within you," Feinstein told Barrett, who is nominated to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Religious freedom advocates were incensed that Feinstein succumbed Barrett to a public "religious test," suggesting that her faith would affect her rulings.

The New York Times has "picked up" where the senators left off, according The Catholic Association. In a new piece entitled "Some Worry About Judicial Nominee's Ties to a Religious Group," NYT writer Laurie Goodstein suggests that Barrett's Catholic faith is a bit more radical than that of more mainstream Catholics, zooming in on her ties to a religious group called People of Praise. 

Some of the group’s practices would surprise many faithful Catholics. Members of the group swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another, and are assigned and are accountable to a personal adviser, called a “head” for men and a “handmaid” for women. The group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family.

Goodstein then goes on to quote legal scholars who fuel her narrative, but also speaks with the leader of People of Praise, who says the group does not try to "control" people and insists they are neither "nefarious" nor "controversial."

The writer eventually admits Barrett's credentials and endorsements.

Ms. Barrett, 45, has never served in the judiciary but has won praise for her legal credentials. A law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, she was hired at 30 at Notre Dame Law School.

She is a member of the conservative Federalist Society, a conduit for judicial nominees to the Trump White House. More than 70 law professors across the country signed a glowing letter of endorsement. A separate letter of endorsement was signed by all of her fellow faculty members.

One has to wonder whether the NYT would do such a deep dive into Barrett's religious background if she clung to a faith that wasn't so closely aligned with conservative values.

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Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association, spoke for many Catholics when she offered the following statement on Thursday.

"The New York Times picks up where Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Durbin (D-IL) left off in trying to use Amy Barrett's faith as a smear against her," McGuire said. "An accomplished professor and legal scholar at the University of Notre Dame, the qualifications and credentials of Amy Barrett are unchallenged. That the left continues to treat her Roman Catholic faith as an impediment to office is a testament to just how beholden they are to their anti-religious bigotries."