The Intellectualist By William James Tues., Sept. 29, 2020
Amy Coney Barrett (pic above) reportedly belongs to People of Praise, a group to which members must swear a lifelong loyalty oath.
One of the individuals reportedly topping President Donald Trump’s shortlist to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg belongs to a religious group that believes husbands should rule over their wives, among other highly conservative and traditional beliefs.
Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago in October 2017, is reportedly part of the Christian group People of Praise – a fact which never surfaced during her confirmation hearing, according to The New York Times.
Ms. Barrett told the senators that she was a faithful Catholic, and that her religious beliefs would not affect her decisions as an appellate judge. But her membership in a small, tightly knit Christian group called People of Praise never came up at the hearing, and might have led to even more intense questioning.
Some of the group’s practices would surprise many faithful Catholics. Members of the group swear a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another, and are assigned and are accountable to a personal adviser, called a “head” for men and a “handmaid” for women. The group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family.
The Times spoke with legal scholars who concluded that loyalty oaths such as that required by the People of Praise could prove problematic for a judge.
The scholars said in interviews that while there certainly was no religious test for office, it would have been relevant for the senators to examine what it means for a judicial nominee to make an oath to a group that could wield significant authority over its members’ lives