Can a Catholic be a Supreme Court Justice and be faithful to both one's faith and the Constitution?

Amy Connie Barret has been confirmed as the newest Associate Supreme Court Justice… It is now a matter of history.

The question is: "Can she be strict constructionist Justice, AND a Catholic?

Why couldn’t she be? “Strict constructionism” is a theory of constitutional interpretation. It has nothing to do with Catholicism one way or another.

3 Likes

Amy Barret made the statement she would do her job and what that entailed.
What is a constructionist justice? That term is new to me.

I am going to tag @Tis_Bearself to explain that term as she seems to know lots about legal issues in the States.

What also is strict constructionism

1 Like

In a secular society it sounds impossible as Law & Faith are two totally different issues, besides doesn’t religion teach us to abide & live in accordance with the Law?

Or in other words… strict constructionism means that one interprets the Constitution as written, with the original intent, and with deference to what the persons who wrote it, intended.

2 Likes

More or less, yeah.

What’s the tension you’re perceiving? Like why do you think a catholic might not be able to be a Supreme Court Justice?

Not trying to be argumentative or anything. Your post just seems to suggest that Catholicism and a particular theory constitutional interpretation are somehow at odds with each other. I’m just not sure why the question occurred to you in the first place.

4 Likes

Just curious about the reactions from Catholics. I personally have great confidence that she will balance the two aspects just fine, but am not so sure what Catholics might expect.

BTW, I am an adult RCIA guy, so asking questions also inform me on my journey in the faith.

1 Like

Of course. The Constitution is her job. Catholicism is her Faith. I don’t see the two in conflict. Otherwise, how could Catholics be citizens of the USA?

2 Likes

Yes, she can. Because a strict originalist doesn’t make laws. They simply state whether the President or Congress are doing things in a Constitutional manner or not.

The issue would if she legislates from the bench.

NOW: in regards to Roe v. Wade, the only way an originalist can overturn Roe v. Wade is if the the lawyers make a good arguments. If a case against Roe v. Wade is horrible, then a originalist might be stuck between a rock & a hard place.

So let’s pray for Justice Barrett and let’s pray that any case against Roe v. Wade is argued smartly so they can remove this wrong ruling.

2 Likes

Exactly! But again, I am asking to see what Catholics would respond with.

.
I presume this would involve abortion, for one thing. Will she refuse to support laws that support abortion practices because of her Catholic faith?
I expect she can deal with such issues properly, and already has well.
It would be interesting to hear from someone knowledgeable about this.

Are people asking the same question about the other Catholic justices: Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kavanaugh?

2 Likes

I think so. She is an originalist so she will literally interpret only by what the constitution says. It really is the leftist judges that do not interpret the constitution and bring their own leftist ideology that are not faithful to the country.

1 Like

I’m only sad she can’t be President… :sunglasses:

It would be a violation of her oath of office (and thereby a violation of her Catholic faith) to use her faith as a basis for court decisions. She is limited to interpreting the Constitution and laws as written.

1 Like

That’s the beauty of Catholicism we also believe in the natural law which governs the universe and all of humanity.

There is no technical reason why she could not become president. There is a precedent: in 1916, Charles Evans Hughes resigned as an associate justice of the SCOTUS to run as the Republican nominee for the presidency, losing to Woodrow Wilson in a close race. He was a favourite for the nomination in 1920, when the Republican ticket won by a landslide, but withheld his candidacy following the death of his daughter. However, he did accept the position of US secretary of state in the Cabinet of Warren Harding. By coincidence, Harding also appointed former president William Howard Taft as chief justice of the United States. In 1930, Hughes returned to the SCOTUS as chief justice.

Indeed, while I believe that Hughes is the only person to have served two terms on the SCOTUS, he is by no means the only person to have resigned from the court in order to pursue, or resume, a political career. James F. Byrnes, for example, resigned from the US Senate to become an associate justice of the SCOTUS, only to resign from the SCOTUS after little more than a year to become director of the Office of Economic Stabilization (he later became US secretary of state and governor of South Carolina).

2 Likes

Absolutely yes! There are times that the state and religion would split and separate from each other but Catholic Doctrines and the Laws of the Government is quite identical. For example, 5th-10th commandments are quite fundamental for constructing the laws of the state. And most of the time, secular state bases within the Natural Law to create a Man-Made law. However, the Church can’t interfere with the laws within the state. Therefore, it would be fare if the state wouldn’t interfere with the laws of the Church. But they can express their point of views whenever they feel that it was their responsibility.

1 Like

Ok…
Now theres an answer…great work scouse

1 Like

Given that we have had multiple Catholic Justices and some of them are still on the bench, I’m not seeing how this is either a problem or some big new thing.

Brett Kavanaugh and John Roberts are also practicing Catholics. How come nobody made a big fuss about it in their cases? I realize with Kavanaugh they were too busy making a fuss over something else to pay attention to whether he had any religious beliefs or not.

The only reason anybody is paying any attention to Amy’s Catholicism is because she is an accomplished woman who doesn’t support abortion due to her religious faith. Most women achievers in USA can’t wrap their minds around how a woman can be both highly accomplished and religious and pro-life.

And she said as much in her acceptance speech a few hours ago.

2 Likes
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.