Mitch McConnell to Defend Amy Coney Barrett from Media's Attacks on Her Faith

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is set to blast critics of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s religious views in planned remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday, calling the media’s attacks on her Catholic beliefs the “definition of discrimination.”

The Kentucky Republican plans to call the “ongoing attacks by Senate Democrats and the media” a “disgrace,” according to Politico Playbook.

“Only our self-parodying liberal media would call it a scandal that a young person in graduate school found community in shared religious beliefs and met their future spouse,” McConnell’s planned remarks say. “Most Americans would call that a beautiful story. … Every Supreme Court Justice in history has possessed personal views. Judges have a job to do and they swear to do it impartially.”

“It is the definition of discrimination to assert that Justice Barrett’s particular faith makes her uniquely unqualified for this promotion,” the statement concludes.

The 48-year-old Notre Dame law professor and conservative Catholic mother of seven children, including two adopted children from Haiti, has been repeatedly attacked by Democrats and the media over her Catholic beliefs. Some have compared her purported membership in People of Praise to the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. 

Barrett’s religious background was also center-stage in her 2017 confirmation hearing for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) criticized her religious views.

“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that, you know, dogma and law are two different things? And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma,” Feinstein said. “The law is totally different, and I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”

However, even some Democrats have criticized the party’s scrutiny of Barrett’s beliefs, including Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) who has said “religion should not enter into” the conversation over who would fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He said it’s “awful to bring in religion.” 

In an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, McConnell defended Barrett, as well as his decision to go forward with her confirmation hearing on October 12 amid Democrats’ calls to delay the hearing until it can be held in person.

“It’s about time we quit talking about the process and talk about the nominee herself,” he said. “[Barrett’s’ an absolute sterling choice. The president could not have picked a better nominee … Quintessentially American. It’s a great success story.”

Vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) called for the hearing to be delayed this week after a number of White House staff and Senate Republicans contracted the coronavirus. 

McConnell accused Democrats of using the outbreak as “another effort to delay the process on this outstanding Supreme Court nominee.”

The Senate minority leader said there is “nothing” that he can foresee preventing Barrett’s confirmation ahead of the November 3 election. 

“We’ve been operating successfully with masking and social distancing since May,” he said. “We’re going to continue to operate. The American people are entitled to it and that’s what we are going to do.”

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