- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2017

Republicans said Democrats were bringing “Catholic bigotry” back to the halls of Congress Monday as almost all Democratic senators voted to try to filibuster a Notre Dame University professor President Trump has nominated to be a judge on a federal appeals court.

The GOP defeated the filibuster on a 54-42 vote, though only three Democrats joined Republicans in backing Amy Coney Barrett, the law professor Mr. Trump nominated to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, Sen. Joe Donnelly, Indiana Democrat, and Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat were the three who broke with their party to back Ms. Barrett.

A final confirmation vote will take place either Tuesday or Wednesday — the first of four appeals court nominees that Republicans want to confirm this week.

Three of those nominees are women, leading Republicans to say they fear a “double standard” if Democrats oppose them.

And in the case of Ms. Barrett, Republicans said they detected signs of anti-Catholic sentiment, after Democrats questioned her during her confirmation hearing over her beliefs as an “orthodox” Catholic.

“Amy Barrett happens to be a nominee who is Catholic—and who speaks freely and openly about her faith and its importance to her,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“For some on the Left, that seems to be a disqualifying factor for her nomination. I would remind colleagues that we do not have religious tests for office in this country.”

But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, rejected charges of religious animus in her vote against Ms. Barrett.

“I myself am a product of Catholic education,” she said. “I think people who know me know how I feel.”

Ms. Feinstein said she took issue with Ms. Barrett’s experience because she only worked on one trial prior to becoming a law professor.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said he’s rejecting Ms. Barrett — and the three other circuit court judges up for confirmation votes this week — because of the Republicans’ aggressive move to jam through judicial nominees in an unprecedented speed.

He said it’s the first time he can remember the Senate processing four circuit court judges in a single week.

“We typically don’t sandwich circuit court nominees back to back to back to back, only a week after they’ve emerged from committee because members who aren’t on the Judiciary committee usually need time – always need time - to review these candidates for such important, powerful, and far-reaching positions,” said Mr. Schumer.

Mr. McConnell has pledged to confirm Ms. Barrett, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen for the 6th Circuit, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid for the 10th Circuit and Stephanos Bibas for the 3rd Circuit by the end of the week.

The Senate also confirmed Trevor McFadden for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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