Media Contact: Curt Levey
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Op-ed by CFJ president Curt Levey published in Fox News:
The Democrats have been doing a lot of projecting recently. Consider their worry that President Trump will refuse to accept the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Now they are projecting their "living Constitution" judicial philosophy onto Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Democrats and their allies worry that Judge Barrett, a devout Catholic, will impose her personal values and beliefs on the law. That's exactly what Democrats want the progressive judges they appoint to do. So it's a classic case of projection.

While the left is panicking that Barrett, if confirmed, will lead the Supreme Court to repeal Roe v. Wade and otherwise enact the teachings of the Catholic Church, the truth is that Judge Barrett is a committed textualist who can be counted on to interpret statutes and the Constitution as written.

As she said in a 2019 lecture, "The law is comprised of words—and textualists emphasize that words mean what they say, not what a judge thinks that they ought to say. … Fidelity to the law means fidelity to the text as it is written."

In her opening statement on Monday, Judge Barrett emphasized that “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people," not by the courts.

Textualism gives effect to this ideal because the political branches speak through the words of the statutes they write, the constitutional amendments they enact, and the original Constitution they gave us in 1787.

Senate Democrats will nonetheless do their best this week to frighten Americans about the prospect of Amy Coney Barrett sitting on the Supreme Court. They will likely fail, because a justice who leaves policy decisions and value judgments to the people's representatives is exactly what most Americans want.

The anxiety on the left is accurately summed up by Elizabeth Bruenig, an opinion writer for the New York Times, who writes of concerns about whether Judge Barrett "will be able or willing to resist the expectations of her church when it comes to cases involving relevant moral issues, and whether she will cater to the wishes of People of Praise, a mostly Catholic ecumenical organization with a distinctly traditional bent, of which she is a member."

Bruenig worries that "Roman Catholicism does not readily distinguish between public and private moral obligations," a projection of progressives' difficulty distinguishing between what the law is and what they would like it to be.

This paranoia that Catholic judges will be unable or unwilling to separate their Catholic beliefs from their work on the bench is not new.

At the 2003 confirmation hearing for Bill Pryor, now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee told him it was hard to believe that his "very, very deeply held" Catholic beliefs would not "deeply influence" his interpretation of the law.

Those same Democrats were enraged when the Committee for Justice called them out with ads featuring a picture of shuttered courthouse doors and a sign reading “Catholics need not apply.”

During Barrett's 2017 confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit, Sen. Diane Feinstein charged that Catholic "dogma lives loudly within you. And that's of concern when you come to big issues."

The following year, at Brian Buescher's hearing for a federal district judgeship, Sens. Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono subjected him to similar grilling about his association with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal and philanthropic group.

At Judge Barrett's hearing this week, Senate Democrats may steer clear of such blatant Catholic bashing this close to an election. But at very least, they'll insinuate that her Catholic dogma will spill over into her work as a Supreme Court justice.

To understand why Democrats make this assumption about Barrett and other Catholic judges, you need to understand the left's judicial philosophy: living constitution theory. It views the Constitution and even statutes as documents that evolve to adapt to changes in values, culture and politics. As Professor of Law Gerald Ratner of the University of Chicago explains:

"If the Constitution is not constant … then someone is changing it, and doing so according to his or her own ideas about what the Constitution should look like. … So a living Constitution becomes … just some gauzy ideas that appeal to the judges who happen to be in power at a particular time and that they impose on the rest of us."

When Democrats project this philosophy onto Barrett, they conclude that she too will use her power as a Supreme Court justice to impose her personal values on us, including those which spring from Catholicism.

Not only are Democrats skeptical that a conservative jurist can interpret the law as written, they also see that approach as a threat to their nearly century-long project of using judicial activism to mold the Constitution into what they want it to be. For example, pointing out that no right to abortion can be found anywhere in the words of the Constitution undermines Roe v. Wade.

When Senate Democrats tell you this week that Judge Barrett's Catholicism will stand in the way of her dispassionately applying the law, remember that it's the last thing they want.

Dear Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Feinstein,
We, the president and public policy director of the Committee for Justice (CFJ), write to you regarding the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Founded in 2002, CFJ is a nonprofit legal and policy organization that promotes the rule of law and constitutionally limited government. We strongly urge you to support the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.  
Judge Barrett is an accomplished woman whose record is, without question, worthy of this nomination. She was the Executive Editor of the Notre Dame Law Review. She was the recipient of the Hoynes Prize (for the best record in scholarship, deportment, and achievement), and the Dean’s Award (for the best exam in Administrative Law, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, First Amendment, Torts, and Legal Research and Writing).
After graduating as class valedictorian, Judge Barrett continued her path of excellence, earning multiple prestigious judicial clerkships. First, under Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and later under the late, legendary Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. When she was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
each of Judge Barrett’s fellow Supreme Court clerks from the class of 1998—including every liberal clerk signed a letter touting her record and qualifications. 

She was a Professor of Law and the Diane and M.O. Miller II Research Chair in Law at the Notre Dame Law School in South Bend, Indiana, where she won the "Distinguished Professor of the Year" award multiple times. Subsequently, she was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit following a bipartisan vote.
Judge Barrett is even more impressive in her character and personal life. A woman of deep faith and integrity, Judge Barrett is an inspiration to millions of women across the country. She is the wife to a supportive husband who shares the love of the law, as a notable attorney himself. She is the mother of seven, who has also experienced the challenges of a child with special needs. She would be the first mother with school-aged children to serve as a justice. As Justice Sotomayor remarked that her experience as a wise Latina would bring richness of experience, so will Judge Barrett’s diversity of life experience greatly benefit the Court.   
Committee approval and Senate confirmation of Judge Barrett’s nomination before the election is imperative. History shows abundant evidence of quick confirmations. Justice Ginsburg herself was confirmed 42 days after she was nominated. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's confirmation took 33 days, while Justice John Paul Stevens was confirmed 19 days after being nominated. A more recent example is Chief Justice Roberts’ nomination length as Chief Justice of 23 days. Historical precedent is also on the side of filling the seat. When the same party controls the White House and the Senate, the confirmation process proceeds as usual and the nominee is almost always confirmed. A new justice has been confirmed 8 out of 10 times this has happened.

A full bench of nine justices is crucial to decide cases in the upcoming term. If a four to four split occurs, lower court rulings will be affirmed, or cases need to be reargued. The Supreme Court will be unable to fulfill one of its most important duties in saying what the law is. This is not the best use of the people's judicial resources. Judge Barrett must be confirmed before the election so the Supreme Court can fulfill its duties as the highest court in the land.

Judge Barrett remarked on Justice Scalia’s influence on her, “a judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were. Sometimes that approach means reaching results the judge does not like, but this is what it means to say we have a government of laws, not of men.” These textualist values were demonstrated in her opening statement, where she explained how she writes opinions from one of her children's perspective as the party she is ruling against. Even if she did not like the result, would the decision be fairly reasoned and grounded in law? Fidelity to the law means fidelity to the text as it is written. Senator Lee explained that Judge Barrett is not being reviewed for a legislative position or policymaking position. She is being reviewed for a position on our nation’s highest court – where she will be asked to decide cases based on the law, based on the facts. Senator Sasse’s civics lesson was an excellent reminder of what the hearing should be about and the common values we should prioritize.

For these reasons and more, we urge you to ensure this nomination process is administered without delay. Every senator should be proud to vote in favor of a woman like Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court.

Curt Levey
The Committee for Justice

Ashley Baker
Director of Public Policy
The Committee for Justice
Recent Event:
Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Constitution charges President Donald Trump with the responsibility of nominating her successor, and the Senate with giving their advice and consent. If Republicans are successful at appointing a reliably conservative nominee to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg, it will be the first solid conservative majority on the court since the 1930s.

Over the next few months, we will see protests, misrepresentations of the record of the nominee, and attempts to obstruct the procedure and processes of the confirmation. As Senator Graham angrily told Kavanaugh during the 2018 hearings: “You’re looking for a fair process? You came to the wrong town, at the wrong time my friend.” 
Gary Marx
Senior Advisor, Judicial Crisis Network; Co-Founder, Madison Strategies
Ilya Shapiro
Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
Casey Mattox
Vice President, Legal and Judicial Strategy, Americans for Prosperity
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