Amy Coney Barrett is a Catholic. Do their beliefs make them self-aware, suspicious or even dangerous? Donald Trump has nominated the 48-year-old attorney as the highest constitutional judge following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This is expected to be confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a few days and then by the Senate itself. There the Republicans have a majority. Many Democrats are outraged.
The vote on Barrett illustrates an absurdity of US suffrage: Despite their majority in the Senate, where they hold 53 seats out of 100, Republicans represent 15 million fewer American citizens than Democrats, who are outnumbered there.
[Wenn Sie aktuelle Entwicklungen live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
Moreover, such a replacement is unusual in the short term. The opposition recalls the now-broken promise of leading Republicans to wait for the vote before the presidential election. But all hairline cracks are useless. Their opponents cannot do anything against Barrett’s confirmation.
Doubts about Barretr’s independence
The attacks are carried out all the more passionately. Many revolve around Barrett’s religiosity, her beliefs. It is said to raise doubts about their independence. The attributes that are widespread in the media range from “arch-conservative” to “reactionary” to “fundamentalist”.
She is accused of being a cult member. What is meant is the ecumenical lay community “People of Praise”, to which Barrett and her husband belong. Sect – that should sound like secession and obscure practices. Such descriptions, now called “framing”, border on slander.
It is considered unideological, independent, balancing
Catholics who follow the teachings of the catechism are against abortion, marriage for all, and the death penalty. Barrett is a very normal Catholic in that regard.
Your professional competence is undisputed. So far she has not represented extreme views. It is considered unideological, independent and balanced. On the particularly sensitive issue of abortion law, Barrett stressed at her 2017 hearing with the federal judge that she would not quash the relevant Federal Constitutional Court ruling.
But even then Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein blamed her for saying that “the dogma is very loud in you, which worries me”. Barrett replied, “If you ask me if I take my Catholic faith seriously – yes, I do.”
[Mit dem Newsletter „Twenty/Twenty“ begleiten unsere US-Experten Sie jeden Donnerstag auf dem Weg zur Präsidentschaftswahl. Hier geht es zur kostenlosen Anmeldung: tagesspiegel.de/twentytwenty.]
However, fewer and fewer Americans are taking the religion seriously. The so-called “Nones”, who do not feel they belong to a religious community, are the fastest growing group.
Until the 1980s, 90 percent of the population was still within one religious denomination. Then the turn dropped sharply. Today, according to Gallup, that’s 52 percent, and the trend is clear: the younger, the farther from the church. One reason for this is the close relationship between religious and political conservative forces. This has left people with culturally liberal attitudes – such as abortion or marriage for all – mentally homeless.
In Barrett’s case, liberalism and religious aloofness now meet conservatism and anchoring in faith. That cement a wall: liberals cannot find the bridge to religion, conservatives use religion as a defense against liberalism. Barrett is a Catholic. That doesn’t make them ashamed or suspicious.