While on a brief break during Thursday morning’s hearings over Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) could be heard in a hot-mic moment discussing the Chicago judge’s faith and personal views on abortion.
“She’s been pro-life for a long time,” said Feinstein, presumably referring to Barrett. “So I suspect with her, it is deeply personal and comes with her religion.”
It was not immediately clear to whom the senator was speaking.
Feinstein, who was very complementary this week of Barrett’s family, made abortion a centerpiece in her questioning of the judge. The California legislator tried to get the nominee to say whether she’d vote in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that granted nationwide legal cover to abortion. Barrett told Feinstein she has no intention of joining the high court with an “agenda” and that her only goal is to “stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come.”
The senator called Barrett’s response “distressing.”
On Thursday, in opposition to Barrett’s confirmation to the court, Feinstein will present a witness, Crystal Good, who “fought” for the “right to obtain an abortion at age 16.”
Conservatives have paid particular attention this week to Feinstein’s questioning of Barrett. In 2017, the Democrat suggested the now-judge’s Christian faith prevents her from ruling objectively.
“The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern,” she said at the time, referring to Barrett’s Catholic faith and personal views on abortion.
Feinstein also called Barrett “controversial because many of us that have lived our lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems.”
For her part, Barrett told lawmakers it “is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions whether it derives from faith or personal conviction.” She also said, “I would stress that my own personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge.”