After President Trump nominated federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., asking Democrats to avoid attacks on her Catholic faith during the confirmation process.
Hawley specifically cited comments made by Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., about Barrett's faith during her nomination hearing for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017.
"I call on you and every member of the Democratic caucus to publicly reject Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s egregious personal attacks on Judge Barrett’s Christian faith during her previous confirmation hearings, and to pledge you will abstain from that kind of anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-faith vitriol in the hearings to come," Hawley wrote. "You owe it to the country.
He added: "As you will recall, Sen. Feinstein, the most senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told Judge Barrett in her previous hearings that 'the dogma lives loudly within you,' a clear and condescending disparagement of Judge Barrett’s Catholicism."
The former state attorney general and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee went on to call out other Democrats like Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, who also made Barrett's religion a focal point of the hearings.
"Over and over these last four years, your caucus has sought to return to the days of 'religious tests,' to exclude people of faith from public office and from the public square," Hawley said. "Your members have attacked and attempted to disqualify nominees by questioning their views on the nature of sin, their beliefs about heaven and hell, their memberships in religious organizations, and the activities of their churches. But our Constitution bans religious tests. Democrats’ offensive and wholly inappropriate attacks must not be repeated in this confirmation process."
"There is a long history of anti-Catholic hatred by some in this country," he continued. "And a growing tide of anti-religious animus on the Left now, and I hope you and your colleagues will not play any further part in it."
The Missouri Republican called such attacks "disgusting" and said they amount to "religious bigotry," which "has no place in the United States Senate."
"I ask that you and all your colleagues reject your past acts of intolerance, and commit to considering Judge Barrett’s nomination on the merits of her qualifications, not by slandering her faith – and the faith of millions of Americans," Hawley said.
Barrett, 48, is a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School and is married with seven children. She was previously floated as a possible replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018, but the seat was ultimately filled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
According to sources close to the confirmation process, however, Barrett's previous vetting has made her the perfect candidate to fill the current seat, which was vacated following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg earlier this month.