During Amy Coney-Barrett’s confirmation, Dianne Feinstein and Al Franken did something offensive. They questioned Prof. Barrett’s faith. Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber sent a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Committee.
First, a little background is required. During her questioning, Sen. Feinstein stated “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.” Sen. Feinstein’s mention of dogma refers to Prof. Barrett’s Catholic faith.
According to Princeton University President Eisgruber’s statement, that’s off-limits. In his letter, President Eisgruber said “I write, as a university president and a constitutional scholar with expertise on religious freedom and judicial appointments, to express concern about questions addressed to Professor Amy Barrett during her confirmation hearings and to urge that the Committee on the Judiciary refrain from interrogating nominees about the religious or spiritual foundations of their jurisprudential views. Article VI of the United States Constitution provides explicitly that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.'”
Sen. Feinstein has been a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for years. There’s no reason for her not to know that part of the Constitution. In fact, I’d be surprised if Sen. Feinstein didn’t just ignore Article VI. It isn’t an accident that our institutions aren’t functioning properly. When politicians like Sen. Franken and Sen. Feinstein ignore constitutional protections to drive their obstructionist agenda, everyone suffers.
Sen. Feinstein essentially said that she’s skeptical that devout Christians are capable of serving in government. That is a religious test, which the Constitution prohibits. In principle, that isn’t any different than Republicans disqualifying people who don’t take their faith seriously.
Feinstein and Franken are ignoring the Constitution that they swore to uphold. That makes them unfit for the offices they hold.