According to devotees of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s personality cult, the ideal Supreme Court Justice is many things. She’s well-educated and professionally successful. She’s articulate. She possesses gravitas. She balances career and family. She cares for the vulnerable. Yet Democratic senators and progressive pundits insist that Amy Coney Barrett is definitely not that woman. But, eager to avoid charges of anti-Catholic bigotry, they tell us it has nothing to do with her religion. No, no! It’s simply that Judge Barrett, a former Notre Dame Law School professor, federal judge, and mother of seven (including two adopted from Haiti) actually believes and practices her Catholic faith—especially its teachings on human life and sexual ethics. That’s the problem.
In the 1960 Democratic Party primary, Massachusetts senator and Catholic John F. Kennedy expertly exploited America’s historic anti-Catholicism to appeal to both Catholic voters and open-minded non-Catholics who were eager to avoid charges of anti-Catholic prejudice. Observing the resultant double standard, Kennedy’s opponent Hubert Humphrey (a Protestant), wryly commented: “Apparently it is perfectly okay for every person of the Catholic faith to vote for Kennedy, but if a Protestant votes for me then he is a bigot.”
Catholicism and double-standards in politics are once again a topic of conversation, given a presidential election featuring Catholic Democrat, Joe Biden, and the nomination of a politically conservative Catholic, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court. E.J. Dionne, a progressive columnist and self-professed Catholic, writes in a September 27 op-ed that the GOP “wants to turn the confirmation process into a festival of double standards when it comes to religion.” Mr. Dionne argues that, while the GOP derides liberal questioning of the role of Barrett’s Catholic faith on the court, it has simultaneously (and hypocritically) attacked Joe Biden’s faith.