Thursday, September 28, 2017
In this (uncharacteristically) pretty low piece about Prof. Amy Barrett's personal religious activities, Laurie Goodstein of the NYT relies on the partisan distortions of Prof. Barrett's academic work that are still being pushed by an activist group called "Alliance for Justice." MOJ readers will recall that, at Barrett's hearing, some of the senators were fixated on a article she co-authored 20 years ago, as a student, regarding the obligations of Catholic judges in capital cases. Here's what Goodstein writes:
Ms. Barrett was questioned in particular about a 1998 scholarly article in which she and her co-author argued that sometimes Catholic trial judges should recuse themselves from the sentencing phase of death penalty cases. At the hearing, Ms. Barrett backed away from that position, saying she could not think of any class of cases in which she would recuse herself because of her faith.
It's not "back[ing] off", at all, to say (a) sometimes Catholic trial judges should recuse themselves frmo the sentencing phase of death penalty cases and (b) that the role of an appellate judge is not likely to present any situations that might similarly require recusal. Indeed, the article itself discussed the distinction between the two roles. Unfortunately, the Times piece simply serves as a vehicle for pushing the activist group's distortion.