Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

What Does the Constitution Say about Religious Tests to Hold Office?

             The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns President Donald Trump’s nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. The nomination was made just after 5:00 p.m. on Saturday evening, September 26, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House.

            Barrett is known for her originalist constitutional approach as a jurist. By all reports, conservative and liberal, Barrett is well prepared for the task. Trump told the audience in the Rose Garden that Barrett is “one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds” who is “very eminently qualified for this job.” 

            If Barrett is confirmed by the Senate – and all reports say there is little doubt that she will be, she will be the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court in the history of the nation. Sandra Day O’Connor had the distinction of being the first woman on the Supreme Court, and she was followed in succession by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. According to Trump, Barrett will become “the first mother of school-age children ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court” if confirmed.

            The Democrat circus has already started. Less than 24 hours after her nomination, Barrett was accused of adopting two children from Haiti to show that she is not racist. Attacking children should be off-limits, but Democrats do not seem to have any limits.

The next claim that I heard was that the nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court was illegitimate. This is one of the claims that I wish to address tonight as constitutionally wrong.

According to Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 – known as the Appointments Clause: “The President … shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court….” The Constitution states that it is the responsibility of the President to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, and it is the responsibility of the Senate to give its advice and consent. There is no mention of timing, so the nomination and confirmation can take place any time during the four years that a President occupies the White House. Therefore, the nomination is constitutional, and the confirmation will be constitutional. 

            Another claim from leftists is that Barrett is too religious and will allow her religion to dictate her votes. During the 2017 Court of Appeals confirmation hearing for Barrett, Democrats made numerous statements about Barrett’s Catholic religion. There were enough statements and/or questions for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) to say that Barrett was “controversial.” Feinstein is on record of saying, “The dogma lives loudly within you.” 

            It seems to me that no one should be making statements or asking questions about her religion. The Constitution specifically says in Article VI Clause 3: “… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The language contained in that clause seems plain to me. It clearly states: “no religious test shall ever be required….” 

            It seems that the Framers of the Constitution were able to debate the religious test question and come to a decision. That decision was put into the Constitution. However, there were problems with religion when it came to ratification of the Constitution. There were “some states during the 1788-1789 struggles over ratification of the Constitution. The main objection was that ‘Jews,’ ‘Turks,’ ‘infidels,’ ‘heathens,’ and even ‘Roman Catholics’ might hold national office under the proposed Constitution.”

The Constitution was ratified despite concerns, and there have been both Jews and Catholics sit on the Supreme Court. An article dated July 2, 2018, said that there have been “12 justices that were Catholic while serving on the Court… The incumbent Supreme Court justices who call themselves Catholic are Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Chief Justice John Roberts. A sixth, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was raised Catholic but currently attends Episcopalian services. The remaining three justices are Jewish.” 

With so many Catholics sitting on the Court, it is obvious that Feinstein was not as concerned about Barrett’s Catholic religion as she was about her strict adherence to the Constitution in her decisions. Barrett has maintained that she is a faithful Catholic and that she will make decisions based on the Constitution and not on her religious views. Having a majority of Justices who adhere to the Constitution presents a huge problem to liberals who desire to make their own rules. Once again Trump kept his promise to nominate constitutional judges!

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