The headline was bold, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died a week ago, has become the first woman in US history to lie in state at the US Capitol in Washington DC. Ruth Bader Ginsburg broke another glass ceiling. It should have come much sooner.
Beginning next week another woman will enter the spotlight; her name, Amy Coney Barrett. Already much has been written about her so I will not add to her biographical profile.
I will begin by recalling Senator Diane Feinstein’s descriptive phrase: “The dogma lives loudly with you.” This was Senator Feinstein’s conclusion about Judge Amy Barrett Coney’s Christian faith voiced during her earlier confirmation hearing to become a United States Circuit Court of Appeals judge. When the confirmation vote came up, Feinstein voted no.
What in most circumstances would be praise, was in the Senator’s eyes disqualifying. How could a person, influenced in part by the life of Jesus Christ, be for that reason, rejected?
We are all informed by something or some things—family, school, church, experiences, influential friends and more. Is being informed by faith in God disabling? And when it comes to faith, is hypocrisy preferred? There are certainly plenty of persons who loudly proclaim their faith, but when their avowed precepts clash with pleasure or greed or power are quick to embrace the latter.
This is the circumstance, but there is a broader story. Unfortunately for former Vice President Joe Biden his future is imperiled by the broader story.
It seems certain that Judge Barrett will be attacked because of her faith. It will be said she “will vote to overrule Roe v Wade.” On that subject she has voiced approvingly the doctrine of stare decisis. “Stare decisis is Latin for “to stand by things decided.” In short, it is the doctrine of precedent.”
Appropriately, Senators will probe and probe to find any real or perceived departures from this principle in everything Judge Barrett has said or written. But the broader story is about who will be elected President on November 3rd.
Handicappers in recent days have concluded that Joe Biden has over a 75% chance of winning. If I was a handicapper, the probability would be dropping. And it would be dropping because the chances are quite good that persons and organizations aligned with his candidacy will spend the next several weeks trying to destroy Judge Barrett and the chances of her confirmation. She will be caricatured as a feverish zealot who will tromp on the separation of Church and State. Her husband should begin conversations with their seven children on the underlying motivation—power and its corruption.
Notwithstanding what has been concluded in a variety of media reports, I know a number of persons of faith who are not intending to vote for Donald Trump because of his character. That is real news. Now to the speculation.
If Biden advocates choose to condemn Judge Barrett based on her devoutness, attitudes will change. A not inconsequential number of persons of faith inclined to vote for Joe Biden will reverse course. It will not be because they suddenly like Trump, but because an America that leaves no room for authentic faith is to them a higher risk than four more years.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.