Christian leaders pen open letter defending Amy Coney Barrett
Rev. Eugene Rivers of the Seymour Institute spoke out against the criticisms against Amy Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith on ‘Fox & Friends.’
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett signed onto a two-page newspaper ad in 2006 calling for the overturning of Roe v. Wade and slamming the landmark abortion rights case as "barbaric."
The open letter was published in the South Bend Tribune in the form of full-page advertisements sponsored by the St. Joseph County Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, according to reports from the Guardian and the Daily Beast.
Barrett, then a law professor at Notre Dame, and her husband, Jesse, joined hundreds of people from the border region of northern Indiana and southwest Michigan known as Michiana who signed their names to the statement calling for an end to abortion and to protect the rights of the unborn.
"We, the following citizens of Michiana, oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death," the letter states. "Please continue to pray to end abortion."
The accompanying ad condemned Roe v. Wade as "an exercise of raw judicial power” and mourned the "more than 47 million children dead and counting" from abortions.
“It’s time to put an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children," the statement concluded.
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The ad, which wasn't included in the reams of documents Barrett turned over to the Senate for her confirmation, brings into clearer focus the jurist's personal pro-life beliefs.
Barrett, who has the support of anti-abortion and conservative groups, was on Capitol Hill Thursday to continue meeting with senators before her confirmation hearing. She was asked by a reporter about the "barbaric" statement, but she declined to answer.
In this May 19, 2018, photo, Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge, speaks during the University of Notre Dame’s Law School commencement ceremony at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)
Democrats and activists who want to preserve abortion rights pounced on the newspaper ad as more evidence that Barrett will overturn Roe v. Wade if confirmed to the high court.
"This is as clear a position as you'll ever see from a judicial nominee," tweeted Brian Fallon, executive director of the Demand Justice progressive group that opposes Barrett's nomination.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., pointed to the reporting as another example of how Trump's pick would put access to abortion in America in jeopardy.
"Judge Barrett has been an outspoken critic of a woman’s right to choose, reportedly calling Roe v. Wade ‘barbaric,'" Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. "She has said as a judge, she would ignore precedent if it conflicted with her interpretation of the Constitution."
Trump has previously pledged he'd only appoint "pro-life judges." The White House Thursday defended Barrett when asked about the "barbaric" statement from 2006 and insisted Barrett would apply the law and not her personal beliefs.
"The president has been clear that he would never ask a judge to prejudge a case,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “Judge Amy Coney Barrett has on multiple occasions said it is never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions whether they derive from faith or anywhere else in the law.”
President Donald Trump walks along the Colonnade with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
It's common practice for court nominees to stay quiet about how they would rule on certain issues so not to prejudge the cases that could come before them. So senators rely on past statements, legal writings and court opinions to understand how a nominee would rule on Roe v. Wade.
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But Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wants jurists to be more direct on abortion and said he'll only support Supreme Court nominees who believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.
After meeting with Barrett on Thursday he's confident she meets the pledge.
"I have every confidence she meets my threshold," Hawley told reporters. "She's been very clear."
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As to whether Barrett should have disclosed the 2006 advertisement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Hawley said: "I'm sure it was inadvertent."
He expects senators will question Barrett about the advertisement during the confirmation hearing, scheduled for Oct. 12.
"I don't have any concerns about it," he said.
Fox News' Kelly Phares contributed to this report.
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