The Senate hearing of Amy Coney Barrett began in mid-October, weeks after a seat in the Supreme Court, which also served as Constitutional Court, became vacant following the death in September of Liberal Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Republicans want to fill the seat as soon as possible, even before the presidential election, because it is not at all certain that President Donald Trump will win his second term – in which case it would be time for democratic, liberal appointments from January.
There is no blatant objection to Barrett’s work to date; it is hard to tie up that she received a family-loving, religious upbringing, studied at Catholic University of Notre-Dame, Indiana, and is the mother of seven children. Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, previously worked as a draftsman, considers him his mentor, and for him, Scalia’s textualist conception of law is dominant, that is, he wants to interpret the constitution as the founding fathers did. However, according to the liberal side, this could also affect issues in the United States such as the right to abortion, but even same-sex marriage.
Among others, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Politico, and the Washington Post have addressed in several articles the implications for American law of the religious background of a vacant Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice candidate was not asked about his religious background during the hearings, nor did he mention in his Senate statement that he would be attached to any religious community. He professes to be a “faithful Catholic” and has vowed that his religious beliefs will not affect his judicial activity and impartiality.
A Guardian and the New York Times according to his investigations, Barrett is connected in several threads to a community called the People of Praise, which professes to be ecumenical, but which, according to others, blends the lines of ultracatholicism and charismatic Christianity. The community was founded in the early 1970s and blends Pentecostal traditions and prophecies with Catholicism.
The Handbook of the People of Exaltation, which has about 1,700 members, emphasizes an isolated worldview, devotion and obedience among members, and a community way of life. Its members have described their aloof community in previous press releases as seeking financial and spiritual support for each other.
According to press reports, the members of the group receive a lifetime of loyalty to each other. The community is led by counselors who control the lives of others. Men in leadership positions are referred to as ‘heads’ or ‘chiefs’, and women as ‘maids’. According to the community of faith, the man is the head of the community and the family, everyone is different, so the wife is also subordinate to him. According to their handbook, the expectation of members is obedience to leaders.
A Politico raises the question in his opinion article: is there a contradiction in the fact that someone will interpret the constitution for the rest of his life while taking an oath to an organization that is opaque in its organizational and accountability structure? And if Barrett is a member of the community, to whom is he sworn obedience, to whom is he accountable? What are the consequences of swearing?
During his studies in Notre-Dame in the 1990s, Barrett lived in the household of one of the group’s co-founders in the state of Indiana. It is known that her husband, Jesse Barrett, also lived in the same house. The chief justice candidate graduated in 1997 and then lived with another couple in a household in the state of Virginia.
Former members reports according to the practice, the goal is to set a good marital example in front of singles, so they live in the homes of other couples. The worldview of the community also contributes to this practice, with prominent members saying they protect themselves from the outside world, where many things are considered the work or temptation of the devil. Nor is it uncommon for members to marry each other with the approval and organization of the community.
Former members of the faith community claim that the female members of the group are subordinate to the male leaders and, in addition, they regularly have a say in the lives and decisions of the members, such as marriage, their way of life, and raising children.
At a Senate hearing in mid-October, Barrett said he had never discriminated against anyone on the basis of his sexual orientation, and he would not do so in the future. However, liberal press outlets have highlighted that Barrett’s religious community is far from lenient about same-sex relationships. The current leader of the People of Exaltation said in an 2018 interview that he is excluded from a homosexual relationship or other “continuous, intentional, and humbled misconduct”.
A community spokesman responded to this press release by saying that the People of Exaltation follow traditional New Testament teachings that marriage is an alliance between a man and a woman, and that sexual intercourse has a place only in marriage. In an opinion in the New York Times, Barrett’s appointment was downright a threat to gay rights. rated.