In this essay, we analyze the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett to identify and explain the interaction between religion and jurisprudential philosophy. By tracing rhetorical scholarship on religion, politics, and the Supreme Court, we highlight tension engendered by both the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Barrett herself in locating her Catholicism as a desirable attribute for a nominee while at the same time espousing the importance of judicial objectivity. We suggest Barrett and her supporters on the committee invoked the judicial philosophy of originalism to allay this tension while occluding conversations about Barrett’s prior ideological commitments. We conclude by troubling the wide circulation of a simplified version of originalism and the (re)circulation of Christian victimhood narratives.
Original Publication Information
Coker, C. R., & Reed, J. L. (2023). A Handmaid’s Tale: Amy Coney Barrett, Originalism, and the Specter of Religion. Communication and Democracy. https://doi.org/10.1080/27671127.2023.2228375
Coker, Calvin R. and Reed, Joel L., "A Handmaid’s Tale: Amy Coney Barrett, Originalism, and the Specter of Religion" (2023). Faculty Scholarship. 881.
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