President Donald Trump’s frontrunner for the Supreme Court seat hid her membership of the conservative religious group that inspired the hit TV show The Handmaid’s Tale when she was first up for a seat on the Federal bench, DailyMail.com has learned.
And now Amy Coney Barrett is likely to face withering scrutiny as to why she did not reveal her ties to the group — which insists women must obey their husbands in all matters — when she was grilled by senators three years ago.
Barrett and her husband Jesse — and their parents — are members of People of Praise, a small group that teaches that wives have to obey their husbands in everything — even the way they vote.
Jesse, 46, is a lawyer in a private practice in South Bend, Indiana, their adopted hometown. He has kept a low public profile.
Democratic senators are almost certain to bring up her affiliation if she is to be nominated and goes before the Justice Committee later this year. . Trump said he will announce his nomination on Saturday.
And one of the main questions could be whether Barrett, 48, deliberately concealed her People of Praise membership from senators when she was before the same committee in September 2017 after Trump nominated her to the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Her ties to People of Praise only became public when the New York Times broke the story three weeks after her confirmation hearing, but before the committee had voted. The committee eventually split along party lines to confirm her. Three Democrats voted with the Republican majority in the vote in the full Senate.
Potential federal judges have to fill out a lengthy questionnaire for senators who are considering their nomination.
One of the questions calls for them to list of ‘all professional, business, fraternal, scholarly, civic, charitable or other organizations’ that they have belonged since high school.
Barrett listed various committees she had been on at Notre Dame as well as the conservative Federalist Society, the Morris Park Country Club in South Bend and she said she had been on the board of Trinity School. She did not say that Trinity is run by People of Praise.
Louisiana-born Barrett has never publicly commented on whether she is a member of the group.
People of Praise spokesperson Sean Connolly told DailyMail.com: ‘Like most religious communities, People of Praise leaves it up to its members to decide whether to publicly disclose their involvement in our community.’
After DailyMail.com discovered online a picture of two of her children, Vivian and Tess, at a community celebration picnic in a 2007 issue of the group’s magazine, Vine & Branches, the magazine’s entire archive was taken down. Connolly did not reply to a question as to why.
Vivian is one of two children Barrett and her husband adopted from Haiti. They also have a boy with Down Syndrome. Vivian, Tess and another daughter, Emma, sat with their mother at her 2017 confirmation hearing.
The Times said many articles that mentioned Barrett’s membership were removed from the Vine & Branches website around the time of her Court of Appeals confirmation hearing. Among them was an announcement that she and her husband were adopting and a photograph of her at a People of Praise gathering.
‘Every nominee for the federal bench is required to fill out a detailed questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ms. Barrett did not list any religious affiliations on her questionnaire, though many nominees have in the past,’ the paper reported.
It quoted a Boston College Law School professor as saying: ‘I’m concerned that this was not sufficiently transparent. We have to disclose everything from the Elks Club to the alumni associations we belong to — why didn’t she disclose this?’
A message left with the Seventh Circuit asking for comment from Judge Barrett was not returned.
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Source: Daily Mail