Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Monday that he had “no questions” about Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic beliefs, adding that her faith was not a relevant topic when assessing her qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court.
Speaking to reporters before boarding a jet in Wilmington, Del., en route to Ohio, the former vice president made the remarks after being asked if her religious affiliations impacted his views on whether she could serve on the nation’s highest bench.
Biden, who is also Catholic, said, “No, her faith should not be considered.”
The Democrat was originally asked if Barrett’s Catholic faith should be considered at all, to which he said no. The reporter then asked again if there “should not be questions about her faith from Senate colleagues,” on which Biden doubled down.
“No, I don’t think there should be any questions about her faith,” he said before bringing up his former political rival Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), whose Mormon faith was raised as a potential issue after he captured the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
At the time, Biden was running for re-election as vice president alongside President Barack Obama.
“You may remember, I got in trouble,” the former veep said of the 2012 campaign, arguing that he said then that “nobody’s faith should be questioned,” even though the position helped his opponent.
Biden then turned his focus back to the current Supreme Court fight taking place in the Senate, highlighting the same concerns as Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, a panel on which he once served.
“This nominee has said she wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, this president wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Let’s keep our eye on the ball. This is about less than one month Americans are going to lose their health insurance,” the former vice president told reporters, taking a similar line to Democratic lawmakers.
While Barrett’s faith has captured headlines, she is hardly the first Catholic to serve on the bench. In fact, Barrett would be the sixth Catholic on the high court.
Chief Justice John Roberts as well as Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh are all Catholic.
Senate Democrats have avoided the topic of Barrett’s religious leanings thus far in her confirmation hearings, instead focusing on the risks her confirmation would place on the fate of the Affordable Care Act.
During Kavanaugh’s 2018 hearings, Democrats took heat for their handling of the process from both sides, something they hoped to avoid this time around.
Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was criticized for bringing up Barrett’s faith during her 2017 confirmation hearings to become a federal judge.
During questioning, Feinstein said that “when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s a concern.”
With Post wires
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