Specifically, Barrett fails to draw the bright line separating her legal judgment and practice from her faith, as Justices Alito and Thomas do. Like Justice Scalia, these men are firm originalists, who interpret the Constitution in light of the original public meaning of its text—regardless of their personal or religious preferences. Justice Scalia, a devout Catholic and convinced pro-lifer, famously said that if he’d found abortion rights in the Constitution, he’d have ruled to uphold them—and favored an amendment to change it. That’s the proper attitude for a jurist in a constitutional republic, who knows that he’s neither a prelate nor a philosopher king.
Why then should conservatives, even Catholics, be concerned about a justice letting his or her faith influence his or her jurisprudence? The answer is simple: Pope Francis sits on the throne.
Francis has used his position to promote a wide array of leftist political and theological stances that conflict with his predecessors’ teachings. These include capital punishment, which goes back to the Covenant of Noah in scripture, and was on the books of the Vatican City state into the late 1960s. Francis has recently unilaterally declared capital punishment forever “inadmissible,” whatever that means. In fact, Francis has gone further and claimed that life imprisonment is also evil.
Still more urgent is immigration.