The Trump campaign on Sunday questioned why Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is being “silent” on what it calls anti-Catholic bigotry aimed at Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
During a “Catholics for Trump” phone call Sunday, Deputy Campaign Manager Justin Clark said he is “really, really, really concerned” about Barrett’s confirmation battle on Capitol Hill, slated to begin on Oct. 12.
“The stakes in this nomination couldn’t be higher,” Clark said. “Our faith as Catholics is under attack currently, and it is going to ramp up and get even worse.”
Clark described President Trump’s nomination of Barrett to the high court as a “landmark nomination” for the country and the court, but added that it is a “seminal moment for the left to reimpose bigoted and unconstitutional religious tests on our nominees for high office.”
“Religious bigotry as Catholics isn’t new in this country,” Clark said, adding that the “new radical left has embraced many of the hateful and destructive tendencies of anti-Catholicism of the past.”
“A renewed anti-Catholic movement in this country has been growing for some time,” Clark said, adding that it has “exploded onto the scene again.”
Clark went on to cite the scrutiny Barrett faced over her faith by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 when she was appointed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
During the hearing, Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, had to assert numerous times that her faith would not influence her jurisprudence.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Barrett at the time that she was concerned over her Catholic beliefs, and particularly how she would apply them in cases involving abortion.
“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that dogma and law are two different things, and I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different,” Feinstein told Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor. “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.”
Clark, on Sunday, slammed Democrats during that hearing in 2017, saying: “If this isn’t the imposition or application of some kind of religious test on people, I don’t know what is.”
But Clark shifted, pointing to the former vice president, and questioning where he stands in the midst of the attacks on Barrett’s faith.
“Where is Joe Biden in all of this? Silent. He’s dead silent,” Clark said. “Just like he was silent when his administration persecuted the Little Sisters of the Poor, or when his own vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris disqualified someone based on their membership to the Knights of Columbus.”
Clark added: “I am very concerned about where we’re headed down this road, where Democrats are headed down this road, and we’ve got to stop it because this is creeping back into our culture and our society and it is not okay.”
Clark urged those on the call to “be aware” and to “engage” with Catholics who support the president.
“This is something that is going to impact all Americans,” Clark said. “It’s hateful and disgusting rhetoric that’s going to be seeping its way back into our culture and our political lives.”
Clark described the upcoming battle surrounding Barrett’s confirmation as “long” and “hard.”
“We need to stand up to this, and we need to stand with the president and Judge Barrett and win in her confirmation, and win on November 3,” he said.
Clark’s comments come as Democrats have questioned whether Barrett’s religion would influence her decisions on cases should she be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., cautioned her fellow Democrats in the Senate against bringing up Barrett’s Catholicism during her confirmation hearing.
Pelosi, who is a Catholic, argued that a person’s religious beliefs should not matter to the senators questioning the potential Supreme Court justice, but instead they should focus on Barrett’s views on the Constitution.
“I think it’s appropriate for people to ask her about how faithful she would be to the Constitution of the United States, whatever her faith,” Pelosi said Sunday during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It doesn’t matter what her faith is or what religion she believes in. What matters is, does she believe in the Constitution of the United States?”
Pelosi added: “Does she believe in the precedent on the Supreme Court that has upheld the Affordable Care Act? This is, again, directly related to a major concern of the American people, as it was in 2018. Health care, health care, health care. The three most important issues in this election.”
When Barrett’s name first arose in 2018 as a possible Supreme Court pick by President Trump, even some conservatives worried her sparse judicial record made it too hard to predict how she might rule. Nearly three years on, her judicial record now includes the authorship of around 100 opinions and several telling dissents in which Barrett displayed her clear and consistent conservative bent.
She has long expressed sympathy with a mode of interpreting the Constitution, called originalism, in which justices try to decipher original meanings of texts in assessing if someone’s rights have been violated. Many liberals oppose that strict approach, saying it is too rigid and doesn’t allow the Constitution to change with the times.
Barrett’s fondness for original texts was on display in a 2019 dissent in a gun-rights case in which she argued a person convicted of a nonviolent felony shouldn’t be automatically barred from owning a gun. All but a few pages of her 37-page dissent were devoted to the history of gun rules for convicted criminals in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In the 2017 White House questionnaire, Barrett was asked if it was her view that abortion was always immoral. She didn’t answer the question directly but said: “If I am confirmed (to the 7th Circuit), my views on this or any other question will have no bearing on the discharge of my duties as a judge.”
In a 2013 Texas Law Review article, Barrett listed fewer than 10 cases she said are widely considered “super-precedents,” ones that no justice would dare reverse even if they believed they were wrongly decided. Among them was Brown vs. Board of Education, which declared racial segregation in schools unconstitutional.
One she didn’t include on the list: Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that affirmed a woman’s right to abortion. Scholars don’t include it, she wrote, because public controversy swirling around it has never abated.
Abortion and women’s rights were the focus of a bruising 2017 confirmation process after Barrett’s nomination to the 7th Circuit.
Others pointed to Barrett’s membership of the University of Notre Dame’s “Faculty for Life” group – and that she had signed a 2015 letter to Catholic bishops affirming the “value of human life from conception to natural death.”
The Senate eventually confirmed her in a 55-43 vote, with three Democrats joined the majority.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.