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Supreme Court says no to Satanic Temple which wanted Justice Barrett to recuse herself from case challenging Missouri law

by | Nov 16, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

You have to give the Devil (so to speak) his due. The Satanic Temple is nothing if not diligent in its efforts to overturn a Missouri law that requires  a 72-hour waiting period before a woman has an abortion and that she receives “an informed-consent booklet” that “expresses Missouri’s view that ‘[t]he life of each human being begins at conception [and that] [a]bortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.’”

The Supreme Court has not decided if it will hear Judy Doe v. Michael L. Parson but has decided to reject the call for Justice Amy Coney Barrett to remove herself from the case because of her Catholic convictions. 

In a press release The Satanic Temple [TST] wrote that 

In its motion to disqualify, TST stated that “any objective observer would reasonably believe it is unlikely Justice Barrett could set aside her religious conviction, impervious to reasoned argumentation, regarding the illegitimacy of abortion and barbarity of [Roe v. Wade] to render an impartial decision on the Petition.

Pro-life Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmit countered with a fierce defense of religious liberty:

“Petitioner Judy Doe, a member of The Satanic Temple, seeks to disqualify Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett from this case on the ground that Justice Barrett has sincere religious beliefs and, before she assumed judicial office, made public statements discussing Catholic doctrine and expressing personal opposition to abortion. … This argument is meritless.  Religious freedom is a bedrock principle of our Nation.  Justice Barrett’s life of faith and service will enrich her judicial service on this Court, not diminish it.  Personal and religious beliefs on policy issues—however strong and sincerely felt—without more, provide no basis to disqualify a Justice.  Petitioner accuses Justice Barrett of creating an appearance of impropriety by “openly and publicly embracing … Catholic dogma.” Petitioner’s argument thus echoes the worst of the hostile public rhetoric and anti-religious animus opposing Justice Barrett’s faith and judicial service.  This Court should reject it.

In his conclusion, AG Schmit cites two Supreme Court precedents:

For all these reasons, Petitioner’s speculation that Justice Barrett’s personal religious beliefs might create an appearance of impropriety here is baseless. In essence, Petitioner contends that any Justice with strong personal or religious views on abortion cannot participate in a case related to abortion. “The implications of this argument are staggering.” [Cheney.] Every Justice undoubtedly has strong personal views on many policy issues—none is “a complete tabula rasa.” [Laird.] “Even one unnecessary recusal impairs the functioning of the Court.” [Cheney.] To require routine recusals of members of this Court in innumerable cases would undermine the Court’s ability to function. 

The Supreme Court agreed.

Categories: Supreme Court