Notre Dame’s president has some pointed words for Democrats.
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas — Last week saw the stunning, but little-covered spectacle of Senate Democrats questioning the Catholic faith of Notre Dame law professor Amy Barrett (at right,) who as a Donald Trump Federal Judge Nominee was interrogated about her “faith” by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, during her Senate Confirmation Hearing.
Sen. Feinstein led the assault on Ms. Barrett, and was joined by several of her Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat colleagues.
Americans who heard about it, Republicans and even Democrats alike, were stunned that leading members of the Democratic Party would suggest that having “orthodox” religious views — particularly those of such a critical Democrat voting block as Catholics — could disqualify one from serving in the American Judiciary.
It also struck a nerve with Rev. John Jenkins, President of the University of Notre Dame. Father Jenkins is no conservative, but he can spot an attack on religious belief. So on Saturday, he penned a letter directly to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California.
Here is the letter in full:
Dear Senator Feinstein:
Considering your questioning of my colleague Amy Coney Barrett during the judicial confirmation hearing of September 6, I write to express my confidence in her competence and character, and deep concern at your line of questioning.
Professor Barrett has been a member of our faculty since 2002, and is a graduate of our law school. Her experience as a clerk for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is of the highest order. So, too, is her scholarship in the areas of federal courts, constitutional law and statutory interpretation. I am not a legal scholar, but I have heard no one seriously challenge her impeccable legal credentials.
Your concern, as you expressed it, is that “dogma lives loudly in [Professor Barrett], and that is a concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.” I am one in whose heart “dogma lives loudly”, as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation. Indeed, it lived loudly in the hearts of those who founded our nation as one where citizens could practice their faith freely and without apology.
Professor Barrett has made it clear that she would “follow unflinchingly” all legal precedent and, in rare cases in which her conscience would not allow her to do so, she would recuse herself. I can assure you that she is a person of integrity who acts in accord with the principles she articulates.
It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge. I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom “dogma lives loudly”—which is a condition we call faith. For the attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.