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A Religious and Conservative Test for Trump Nominees? Why These Two Contenders Are Already Under Fire

07-05-2018
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President Donald Trump is just days away from announcing his US Supreme Court pick and already, two of his potential nominees are under fire from members of Congress and the media – one for not being conservative enough and the other for her Christian views.

It was a star-spangled Fourth of July celebration at the White House Wednesday night as the president mulled over his Supreme Court pick.

"Such an important decision and we're going to give you a great one, like Justice (Neil) Gorsuch. We – we hit a home run there, and we're going to hit a home run here," he said.

The president has a list of seven possible candidates to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. But some members of Congress and the media say the president is striking out with two candidates on his short list. 

The two under fire are federal appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Kavanaugh is opposed by three Republican senators for troubling comments he's made about his judicial philosophy, like in 2015 when he said judges need to keep an open mind.

"It means a willingness to change your mind. That is something that judges have to do – to say, 'Well, I didn't look at it that way a few years ago, but now I see that it looks different to me,'" Kavanaugh told a Columbus Law School audience.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) fear that comment indicates Kavanaugh won't stick with the view that the Constitution means what it says.

As for judge Amy Coney Barrett – liberals are trying to smear her for her faith. She's a committed, faithful Christian who is part of a Roman Catholic group called "People of Praise."  Some on the Left are trying to label it a cult because its members are so committed to their faith.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) infamously introduced a religious test during Barrett's federal appeals court confirmation hearing.

 "When you read your speeches, um, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you," she said.

But Barett supporters say she is just like millions of other committed American Christians, and she's an outstanding jurist who once clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and a mother of seven – including a special needs child and two children born in Haiti.

Democrats, like NBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, warn they must do whatever they can to stop Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

The president says he'll announce his pick on Monday.

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