Members of the pro-life movement celebrated Tuesday after Amy Coney Barrett, a devout "Catholic Pentecostal" mother of seven was confirmed Monday by the U.S. Senate to serve as a judge for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Abortion rights activists, however, are outraged.
"Judge Amy Barrett's confirmation is a victory for the pro-life movement as well as for the fundamental freedom of all Americans to live out their faith in the public square," President of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement to The Christian Post.
"In spite of her exemplary qualifications, Judge Barrett was subject to outrageous personal attacks for her Catholic faith from pro-abortion Senators during her confirmation hearing. Those attacks have no place in America, let alone Congress, in the 21st century. Moreover, voters will not forget the attempted obstruction when they go to the polls next year," Dannenfelser added.
Barrett who teaches and researches at the University of Notre Dame Law School was grilled at a Senate hearing in September about whether her Roman Catholic faith would influence her decisions on the bench.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told the 45-year-old mother of seven that "the dogma lives loudly within you."
"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country," Feinstein said.
Despite the criticism, the United States Senate Periodical Press Gallery reported Tuesday that Barrett's nomination for the bench was confirmed by a vote of 55–43.
"We thank President Trump for keeping his promise to nominate judges who will respect the Constitution and not impose a pro-abortion agenda from the bench. We also thank Leader McConnell and Senator Grassley for their commitment to getting these excellent judges confirmed and for their continuing work to end the partisan gridlock that is still holding up many other nominees," Dannenfelser said of Barrett's confirmation.
Barrett's teaching and research focus on the areas of federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. Her colleagues at Notre Dame Law School are confident that she will wisely execute her duties from the bench.
"Amy Barrett has been a beloved teacher and outstanding scholar," Nell Jessup Newton, the Joseph A. Matson Dean of Notre Dame Law School said in a release. "I am confident she will be a wise, fair, and brilliant jurist as well."
When President Donald Trump nominated Barrett for the vacant seat on Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in May, every full-time member of Notre Dame Law School's faculty signed a strong letter of support for her, the school said.
"Every law clerk who served a U.S. Supreme Court justice during the term that Barrett clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia also endorsed her nomination," the law school added.
In a statement on Barrett's confirmation however, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue branded Barrett an extremist who will "impose her extreme anti-choice ideology."
"Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation advances Mitch McConnell's, and the anti-choice GOP's, desire to reshape the courts in Donald Trump's image for decades to come. Barrett's record speaks for itself: She is aligned with extreme, anti-choice organizations, and her writings make clear that she believes Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided," Hogue said.
"With a lifetime appointment, Barrett can impose her extreme anti-choice ideology onto women and families for much longer than Donald Trump will occupy the White House. Barrett's confirmation proves that the anti-choice GOP is more concerned with advancing its out-of-touch agenda than upholding our basic human rights, and this confirmation should concern anyone who believes in a truly independent judiciary," she added.
The Senate also confirmed Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen on Wednesday. Votes are also expected for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, and University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Stephanos Bibas.