When Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California questioned the Catholic faith of Judge Amy Cony Barrett, a Trump nominee for the Seventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, she received a firestorm of criticism. Feinstein was accused of being an anti-Catholic bigot and of imposing a religious test for a judicial appointment, which is contrary to the United States Constitution. Sen. Feinstein elaborated what bothered her about Judge Barrett on a broadcast of CNN’s “The State of the Union.”

What Feinstein initially said

Feinstein had questioned Judge Barrett during hearings on her nomination on September 6 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein stated, “"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma (of that Catholic Church) lives loudly within you.” The senator went on to state that this was “of concern” to the “big issues.” Feinstein did not elaborate on what those issues were, but presumably, they include abortion, which has been legal in the United States since the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision and which many religious Catholics regard as the taking of a human life. Feinstein was suggesting that Judge Barrett's Catholic faith would cause her to take a different view on abortion that the 1973 Supreme Court did. The implication that Catholics should be kept off the federal bench was loud and clear.

Feinstein ridicules Judge Barrett's judicial experience

On the September 17 CNN broadcast, Feinstein took a different line of attack against Judge Barrett.

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She stated, “This is a woman that has no real trial or court experience.” She suggested that the Judge’s writings and public statements were “questionable” and “deserved questions.”

In fact, Barrett has been a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School for the past two years and has, presumably, participated in a number of rulings. She has also been a law professor and has clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Feinstein’s real beef is likely that none of Judge Barrett's rulings were controversial enough to be used against her during her nomination hearings, so she had to delve into her articles and speeches to find dirt on her. Feinstein hit upon Barrett's Catholic faith as a line of attack.

The senator’s assault on Catholics is an example of a big problem Democrats face currently. Many working and middle-class Americans feel disrespected by Democrats, hence the election of Donald Trump. Feinstein is now going after another voting bloc that used to be in the Democratic corner dating back from the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. The absolutist defense of abortion at all costs has started to be a political loser for Democrats and will not redound to their benefit going forward.