Courtesy of the Office of the First Lady of the United States
By Javi Mazariegos
Saturday morning, Washington post published a opinion piece by Catholic University President John Garvey on President Trump’s recent Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed earlier today. President Garvey’s article was titled “I Taught and Worked with Amy Coney Barrett. Here is what people are wrong about his faith. Anyone familiar with Garvey’s writing style would not be surprised if this article was written in his crisp and clear style; every word was used to praise the recent candidate.
President Garvey opens his article with a short story highlighting Barrett’s genius as a law student. President Garvey was a professor at Notre Dame Law School from 1994 to 1999 before becoming Dean of Law at Boston College. Barrett graduated first in his class from Notre Dame Law School in 1997.
Immediately after graduating from Notre Dame, Garvey hired Barrett as a research assistant and co-authored an article with her explaining how Catholic judges should refrain from applying the law in cases where the law falls. opposed to moral conscience. From that mention, Garvey shifted to the main point of his article: Barrett’s faith is anything but an obstacle to his service as an excellent Supreme Court justice.
President Garvey mentioned that many opponents of Barrett accused her of not being suitable for appointment to federal courts because of her religious beliefs. She is often portrayed negatively for her membership in the People of Praise, an ecumenical Christian organization formed in South Bend in the 1970s.
President Garvey not only defended Barrett’s association with the People of Praise, but wholeheartedly saluted the movement as a whole, citing that Pope Francis was referring to the group among “a current of grace in the Church and for the Church ”. Garvey pointed to the fantastic schools across the country as a part of the praise people did for the church and for the nation.
While holding the path of Barrett, the mother of seven, is living her faith in a positive way, President Garvey is not deaf to the criticisms leveled against the people of praise. He gets right to the point by pointing out that Barrett is often described as giving in to “submissive gender roles.” Garvey called this false when he quickly mentioned the nature of Barrett’s marriage to Jessie Barrett, who was also an exceptional man and lawyer.
“Her husband – I also taught her – is a wonderful man and a remarkably competent lawyer, as is Ginsburg’s husband,” Garvey wrote. “No one who knew either couple would assume that the woman needed instruction on how to think.”
Yet a major point of contact for President Garvey in dispelling myths around Barrett was another gesture to his legal and academic genius. President Garvey mentioned that he was the law professor who drafted a one-sentence recommendation for his internship with the late Justice Scalia.
This famous one-sentence recommendation was used by President Trump in his announcement of Barrett’s appointment. Garvey wrote: “After graduating from law school, I wrote a one-line letter of recommendation for her to Judge Antonin Scalia:” Amy Coney is the best student I have ever had. ” It was wise to hire him as a clerk.
In addition to his brilliance, Garvey took the opportunity to speak out widely against the kind of criticism Barrett received in his first confirmation hearings for the Federal Tour. Garvey writes that “loyalty to traditional Christian teachings rubs some lawmakers the wrong way.” Whether this loyalty is applied to the people of praise or to Barrett herself, it is used as a point against Barrett.
Garvey pointed out that an aversion to religious adherence is not new in the English common law system, pointing to the English Test Act and Corporation Act which prohibited Catholics faithful to traditional Christian teaching from holding public office. .
While this may be a historical phenomenon, Garvey pointed to a large body of law that defends Barrett: the Constitution. In addition to the protection of religious freedom in the First Amendment, the only other mention of religion in the Constitution is “no religious test will ever be required as a qualification for a public office or trust in the United States.”
“[The Constitution] has been, for more than two centuries, the guarantee of a tolerant pluralism in our country, ”Garvey argued. “The Constitution calls on Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons, Jews, Muslims and non-believers to serve their country, and promises them that they will not be questioned about how they choose to love and serve God.”
His final gesture was to mention that in his capacity as President of the Catholic University of America he is “invested in the continued service of Catholics in America” and therefore believes that Barrett’s fidelity to Christian teachings does not is not something that disqualifies her in any way from serving the constitution and the country she loves.