According to a liberal watchdog group, President Trump’s nominee for a vacant seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals believes that religious faith should take precedence over the U.S. Constitution.
The Alliance for Justice has warned Amy Coney Barrett is a religious extremist who isn’t qualified to serve on the bench. A report released by the AFJ says Barrett believes “judges should be bound by their religious faith, not the law.”
AFJ president Nan Aron says Barrett “is a judicial nominee the likes of which we have rarely seen.”
“Specifically, Barrett has written that judges should put their religious faith ahead of the law in certain cases,” Aron said in a statement. “She also has written that judges should not have to abide by precedent if they disagree with how past cases were decided. These views are so contrary to our system of democracy and justice that, in our view, they clearly disqualify her for the federal bench.”
Barrett, who is Catholic, is a staunch opponent of women’s reproductive rights and has written numerous letters calling for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. The AFJ’s report notes that she “takes the extreme view, unsupported by virtually anyone in the legal community, that a judge does not have to adhere to precedent if she believes a case was wrongly decided.”
This approach would threaten a wide range of rights and protections established by past court rulings, including rights for workers, LGBTQ Americans’ rights, and voting rights, in addition to women’s reproductive rights. Her views are completely at odds with the way in which our justice system works, and would make it unworkable if adopted by judges.
She’s also come out against the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers offer contraceptive coverage, writing a letter that “objected to the Act’s accommodation for religiously-affiliated employers that allowed them to avoid having to directly inform their employees about contraceptive coverage, and went on to say that the contraceptive coverage requirement was ‘a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.'”
Her belief that judges should be bound by their religious faith, not the law combined with her repeated statements rejecting stare decisis, the doctrine that requires courts to follow precedent, clearly threatens precedents such as Roe that form a basis for enforcing women’s reproductive rights.