Barrett also told committee chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that her faith would not influence her rulings on the Court.
During Barrett’s confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee largely stayed away from references to her faith, instead asking her to opine on existing Supreme Court rulings including those that legalized contraception and abortion.
Barrett clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia and has previously spoken of his influence on her judicial philosophy. Notre Dame law professor Paolo Carozza told CNA that Barrett’s legal philosophy is one of “judicial restraint.”
However, Barrett repeatedly told senators during her confirmation hearing that while she clerked for Scalia and shared his judicial philosophy, she was not the same person as the late justice and would rule on cases based on how she saw fit.
Barrett did consider multiple abortion cases while on the Seventh Circuit.
She joined the court’s majority in upholding Chicago’s eight-foot “buffer zone” rule that prohibited pro-life sidewalk counselors from approaching within eight feet of an abortion facility. The majority opinion cited the “binding” Supreme Court ruling in Hill v. Colorado, another “buffer zone” case.
The group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Pittsburgh’s 15-foot “buffer zone” rule; the Court has yet to accept or refuse the case of Nikki Bruni and other pro-life sidewalk counselors.
Barrett will join the Court a week before oral arguments are scheduled in a key religious freedom case, Fulton v. Philadelphia; the case could decide other court battles where local governments have required faith-based adoption agencies to match children with same-sex couples
The Catholic Social Services (CSS) of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia saw its contract for foster care placements halted by the city of Philadelphia in 2018 because of its faith-based stance on marriage.
The city had told Catholic Social Services and Bethany Christian, another group providing foster care placements, that they had to work with same-sex couples on foster care placements in order to continue their contracts. While Bethany Christian maintained its organizational support of traditional marriage, it agreed to work with same-sex couples on foster care placement; Catholic Social Services would not, and has had no new placements through the city.
Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch, who have fostered more than 40 children and who partnered with Catholic Social Services, brought the case against the city that is currently before the Supreme Court.
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