Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s longtime association with the religious group People of Praise appears to have gone into the memory hole. People of Praise scrubbed many mentions of Barrett from its website when she was under consideration for the Supreme Court seat that went to Brett Kavanaugh, and has now followed up by removing more mentions of Barrett and her family, the Associated Press reports.
Republicans are, of course, trying to rule out of bounds any discussion of Barrett’s religion. But the issue is not what she personally believes, it’s the relationship between her religious commitments and her role as a potential Supreme Court justice. Barrett has spoken at an event intended to teach Christian law students a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law” including “how God can use them as judges, law professors and practicing attorneys to help keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel in America.” She appears to have been a longtime member of People of Praise, a group she not only doesn’t want to answer questions about but which is actively erasing traces of her involvement.
Barrett has not said whether she herself is formally a member of the group, but she had been pictured at its events and mentioned in its publications over many years. Her father is a local People of Praise leader, her mother is a “handmaid,” a woman who leads other women in the group, her husband’s mother was until recently listed as a local contact, and her husband’s grandparents were members.
Republicans gave Justice Sonia Sotomayor endless grief about her view that the experiences and viewpoint of a “wise Latina” could be a good addition to the bench, but now want to exclude any discussion of a large part not just of Barrett’s personal views but of her legal views and connections as well. It is relevant if she will apply faith or law to questions of reproductive freedom, for instance. And we all know why Republicans don’t want to talk about that.