Action Alert

Fight against latest Trumpian push for theocracy

Help stop Trump’s appeals court nominee

We need your help to stop a reckless step by President Trump to put religion before the rule of the Constitution.

Trump has nominated Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 7th Circuit handles appeals from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin — FFRF’s homebase. Not only does Barrett have little or no trial experience, but she has repeatedly expressed the view that her Catholic faith trumps the law.

For instance, Barrett was critical of Supreme Court Justice William Brennan’s comments during his 1957 confirmation hearings that the Constitution gets utmost precedence when in conflict with personal religious beliefs. Barrett disagreed, writing she does “not defend this position as the proper response for a Catholic judge to take with respect to abortion or the death penalty.”

This is a distorted viewpoint that should disqualify Barrett from serving on any U.S. court. Please, take action to halt this threat to our secular judicial system. Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee — which will soon vote on this nomination — that Barrett is not suitable to serve in an appeals court.

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Keep reading for more information about Barrett and what her appointment could mean.

Background

The 7th Circuit handles appeals that include many of our cases. We have sent questions to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley in which we focus on public stances Barrett had taken that place her at odds with the secular nature of the U.S. Constitution.

Barrett has written that as a Catholic judge she does not defend the Constitution’s precedence when in conflict with personal religious views with respect to abortion or the death penalty. In 2015, Barrett signed a letter from “Catholic women” to the “Synod Fathers in Christ,” in which she expressed her “fidelity to and gratitude for the doctrines of the Catholic Church.” The letter highlighted her views on several topics that will surely come before the 7th Circuit, such as abortion rights, death with dignity measures, LGBTQ rights and gender equality.

Clearly, Barrett is willing to use her identity as a Catholic judge to advocate for the Church’s dogma in our judicial system.

Barrett’s has also expressed some approval on the deeply problematic interpretation of “religious liberty” to mean the license to discriminate based in religion. We have pointed questions for Barrett on these and related topics, which you can read about in a press release we sent out on this subject. 

Our objection is not to Barrett’s Catholicism, but to her expressed unwillingness to side with our Constitution as a public representative when it conflicts with her personal religious beliefs. Giving Barrett’s religiously tilted jurisdiction, a place on the 7th Circuit could have far-reaching impacts on important issues such as a woman’s right to choose, the right to die, the death penalty, and the collision of Catholic health care and our secular law.

We need someone on the bench who can approach all cases sensibly and with a clear conscience.

Talking points

As your constituent I urge you, and the rest of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to oppose President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Barrett has little trial experience and has repeatedly expressed the view that her identity as a Catholic judge takes precedence over our secular law. She has written that her judgement is compromised by her personal religious beliefs on numerous issues including a women's right to choose, the right to die, LGBTQ rights, the death penalty and the collision of Catholic health care into what should be secular policy.

This lack of support for the constitutional separation of church and state should disqualify Barrett from serving on any U.S. court. Please vote against her nomination. We need someone on the court who can approach all cases with a clear conscience.

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