Earlier today I wrote about Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s faith and her previous connection to an evangelical church and Christian school. In that piece I noted that Texas senator Ted Cruz had used his written questions to Jackson during her 2021 hearing for the U.S. Court of Appeals to express his frustration over the way Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith was handled by California senator Dianne Feinstein back in 2017 during Barrett’s confirmation hearings for a spot on the the appellate court.
Here is what happened in 2017:
As I wrote earlier today, it appears that Cruz cannot let go of what happened back in 2017, an event that the media and GOP senators revisited in Fall 2020 during Barrett’s Supreme Court hearings.
Cruz is not alone in his lingering and festering frustration with Feinstein. Today, South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham brought it up again in his first question to Ketanji Brown Jackson. In fact, Graham seems to have manipulated the entire conversion with Jackson to make a point about Feinstein”s treatment of Barrett.
Here is the exchange:
Sen. Graham: In your opening statement and the people who introduced you to the committee, there was very glowing praise of you are a person, a good friend. You have a wonderful family and you should be proud. Faith matters to you. What faith are you, by the way?
Hon. Judge Jackson: Senator, I am Protestant. Nondenominational.
Sen. Graham: Could you fairly judge a Catholic?
Hon. Judge Jackson: Senator, I have a record of that.
Sen. Graham: How important is your faith to you?
Hon. Judge Jackson: Personally my faith is very important, but as you know, there is no religious test under Article Six
Sen. Graham: And there will be none with me.
Hon. Judge Jackson: and it is very important to set aside one’s personal views and the role of a judge.
Sen. Graham: I couldn’t agree with you more, and I believe you can. On a scale of one to ten, how faithful would you say you are in terms of religion? I go to church probably three times a year so that speaks poorly of me, but do you attend church regularly?
Hon. Judge Jackson: Senator, I am reluctant to talk about my faith in this way, just because I want to be mindful of the need for the public to have confidence in my ability to separate out of my personal views.
Sen. Graham: How would you feel if [a] Senator up here said ‘your faith and dogma lives loudly within you and that is a concern?’ How would you feel if someone on our side said, ‘you are into church–too much church for me”…and they would suggest it would affect your decision? Would you find that offensive?
Hon. Judge Jackson: Senator–I am
Sen. Graham: I would and I found it offensive and they said [this[ about Judge Barrett. I have no doubt your faith is important to you and I [have] zero doubt you can adjudicate people’s cases. If I had any doubt, I would say so. Here are the only think I [want] to mention [about] this, as you are reluctant to talk about it because it is uncomfortable. Just imagine what would happen if people on late-night television called you a nut speaking in tongues because you practice the Catholic faith in a way they couldn’t relate to or found uncomfortable. You should be proud of your faith. I am convinced whatever faith you have and how often you go to church will not affect your ability to be fair, and I just hope going into the future that we all can accept that and that [Barrett] was treated very, very poorly. So I just wanted to get that out.
Watch some of Graham’s exchange with Jackson here:
We also learn that Jackson is a non-denominational Protestant. Still nothing more specific. Most churches that identify as “nondenominational” are evangelical, but they do not have to be. I have heard “nondenominational” used in many different ways.