Hawley Scolds Dems for Attempts to Bring Back 'Religious Tests' for Judicial Nominees

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., August 5, 2020. (Carolyn Kaster/Pool via Reuters)

Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) slammed Democrats on Monday for what he termed their attempts to “bring back religious tests” for judicial nominees, during the opening hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

In 2017, ranking Senate Judiciary Committee member Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said during the judge’s previous confirmation hearing that it was “of concern” that Barrett’s Catholic “dogma lives loudly within you.” Senator Kamala Harris in 2018 questioned a different judicial nominee, Brian Buescher, on whether his membership in the Catholic Knights of Columbus would “interfere” with his judicial rulings.

During the Monday hearings, Hawley condemned these and other instances of judicial nominees being questioned about their faith.

“This is an attempt to broach a new frontier, to set a new standard—actually, it’s an attempt to bring back an old standard that the Constitution of the United States explicitly forbids,” Hawley said. “I’m talking about a religious test for office.”

Hawley added that Senator Feinstein, in Barrett’s 2017 hearing, employed “the very terminology of anti-Catholic bigotry current in this country a century ago. She wasn’t alone. Other senators on this committee [in 2017] asked you if you were an ‘orthodox’ Catholic. Another senator said she worried you would be a ‘Catholic’ judge if you were confirmed…I guess as opposed to an American judge.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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