McConnell is leading the efforts by Senate Republicans to swiftly confirm Judge Barrett — who was nominated by President Trump following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — before November’s election. Barrett, a mother of seven, also faced criticism and accusations based on her religious beliefs when she was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit in 2017.
“Our coastal elites are so disconnected from their own country that they treat religious Americans like strange animals in a menagerie,” McConnell said in a statement.
The Senate leader pointed to a Guardian report about how Barrett and her future husband lived in a residence owned by the co-founder of the People of Praise religious group while she was in law school, and a Washington Post article with a headline that mentioned Barrett had once been a “handmaid” for the group. The article recognizes that the title was for female leaders in the group who helped other women with various issues, but the term has been used by Barrett’s critics to compare her and the group to the dystopian novel and television show “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
McConnell also pointed to Senate Democrats, referencing one member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who McConnell said questioned Barrett’s ability to “look past private ‘closely held’ views to rule impartially.”
During Barrett’s 2017 confirmation process for her current role on the Seventh Circuit bench, Democrats including Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., brought up Barrett’s religion, including speeches delivered at Notre Dame Law School. Barrett had taught at the Catholic institution.
“I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said during a hearing. “And that’s of concern.”
“The ongoing attacks by Senate Democrats and the media on Judge Barrett’s faith are a disgrace,” McConnell said. “They demean the confirmation process, disrespect the Constitution, and insult millions of American believers.”