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Analysis: The Senate's quiet shift on religious freedom vs. abortion

October 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Supreme Court confirmation hearings kicked off Monday and that arguably wasn't the biggest news event of the day.

I personally am amazed at the fact that Barrett will cement not just a conservative majority, but also a Catholic majority on the court.

". . . that would mean all six Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents were raised Catholic.

This, he points out, is despite the fact that "Catholics represent a smaller share of the GOP's electoral coalition than both mainline and especially evangelical Protestants; those evangelicals are by far the party's largest religious faction, according to annual studies by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. "

The ideological convergence is that conservative Catholics, including those in the legal field, have displayed as much commitment to conservative social causes, particularly banning abortion, as evangelical Christians.

The institutional divergence is that there is a vastly stronger legal network -- from well-respected law schools to judicial clerkships to lower court appointments -- to provide conservative Catholics with the credentials required to obtain a Supreme Court nomination than exists for evangelical Protestants.

Brownstein argues abortion has so unified religious conservatives -- Protestant and Catholic -- that now, criticism by Democrats of Barrett's position on abortion are attacked by Republicans as instances of religious intolerance.

Those comments, which have become something of a rallying cry by conservatives about religious intolerance, were absent from Feinstein's opening statement at Barrett's hearing Monday.

Rather, Feinstein said Democrats would focus their time on Obamacare, which now seems more divisive than abortion, and the idea that if, as expected, Barrett sided with conservatives on the Court to dismantle the law, it would leave tens of millions of Americans without health insurance.

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