Amy Coney Barrett is as good as her word.
And liberals can’t stand her for it.
The country’s newest Supreme Court justice, confirmed in October over howls of rage from the left, signed on with the majority last week to vacate a Washington appeals that held off the planned execution of a man convicted in the brutal rape and murder of a teenage girl in 1994.
As a result of the court’s action, Orlando Cordia Hall was put to death Thursday in a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
In response, the Rev. James Martin, the Jesuit priest who delivered the closing prayer in August at the Democratic National Convention, took to Twitter to implicitly accuse Barrett of betraying her faith.
This means that Amy Coney Barrett, in defiance of Catholic pro-life teaching, has voted to execute someone. The death penalty is, as the Catechism says clearly, "inadmissible."
Every life is sacred, from the unborn child in the womb to the inmate on death row. https://t.co/cTu8b3GuzP
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) November 20, 2020
Barrett, as most Americans with even a casual interest in politics knows, is widely considered a devout Catholic. In fact, the most vile arguments against her appointment to the court concerned her religion, which aimed to generate doubts about her ability to separate her Catholic faith from her duties to the Constitution.
But what the left really feared about Barrett was that her originalist approach to the Constitution — the kind favored by her mentor, the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia — would lead her to rulings that could eventually do away for with judicial and moral obscenity that is the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 that made abortion a constitutionally protected “right.”
During her confirmation hearings, Barrett didn’t shy away from her religious beliefs but repeatedly made clear her view that the role of a judge is to interpret laws as they are passed by the legislature, not to impose law from the bench.
“The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People,” she wrote in her opening statement. “The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”
In other words, a judge’s religion could not overrule the law.
With her decision to support the majority in the decision that sent Hall to his lethal injection, Barrett lived up to her own words.
The Catholic Church might consider the death penalty impermissible, but the United States Constitution does not. And when Barrett had to decide, she followed her duty.
The fact that a liberal Catholic like Martin would use that as an excuse to attack Barrett is more than a little strange.
For one thing, while she might be the best known at the moment by virtue of the controversy surrounding her confirmation, Barrett is far from the only Catholic on the high court. In fact, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, Catholics all, were part of the majority with Barrett in the Hall case.
The court’s remaining Catholic, Justice Sonya Sotomayor, was in the minority that would have kept Hall’s stay of execution in place.
For another, Barrett’s vote gives the lie to the left’s attempt to gin up hysteria over her Catholic beliefs (Disheartening as it is to realize it, 60 years after John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic elected to the presidency, the country can still witness an attempt to smear an individual based on membership in Christianity’s oldest institution).
Finally, the attack shows how hollow and hypocritical the left’s positions really are.
Liberal Catholics love to talk about church teachings that consider the death penalty “inadmissible,” as Martin’s Twitter post put it. But it’s a fact that the United States Constitution specifically considers it acceptable. The Fifth Amendment states that no person can be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”
Obviously, then, the death penalty is acceptable as long as there is “due process.”
Consider that black-letter-law compared to the hazy “penumbras” of rights divined by the Roe v. Wade decision (which in turn was based on the “penumbras formed by emanations” of the Griswold decision of 1965 ).
When it comes to the U.S. Constitution, the acceptability of the death penalty is a matter of fact. The so-called “right” to an abortion is a matter of very strained opinion. The fact that liberals deny the first and embrace the second says everything there is to say about the left’s relationship with constitutional law.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Martin no doubt knows full well that the Democratic Party ferociously committed to the “right” to abortion — keeping it in place and expanding it where possible, as in New York state.
How he and other self-identified Catholics — very much including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — can rationalize making peace with a party that promotes that murderous atrocity is between them, their conscience and their God.
There are many millions of Catholics who cannot.
Regardless, American jurisprudence is not a Roman Catholic catechism class.
The reality is, whatever Barrett’s personal feelings about the death penalty — whatever any other American feels about the death penalty — she is not a policymaker.
She has sworn an oath to the Constitution and evidently decided that lethal injection was within the bounds of the government’s conduct set by the Constitution in the case of Orlando Cordia Hall.
That’s how she pledged she would rule on the court, and it looks like she’s keeping that pledge.
It’s what her conservative supporters predicted she would do, and in these early days, it looks like they were right all along.
And liberals can’t stand any of it.