Sunday, October 16, 2016

Massachusetts official urged to resign after grilling judicial nominee about Catholic faith

Image result for COUNCILLOR EILEEN DUFFA ranking public official in Massachusetts is coming under fire for grilling a judicial nominee about his Catholic faith.

Eileen Duff, a member of the Governor’s Council (a body that approves the appointments of new judges), focused on religious issues in her questions of James Gavin Reardon, Jr, who had been nominated for a seat on the Massachusetts Superior Court. 

Claiming that members of the US Supreme Court have allowed their religious beliefs to influence their decisions, Duff asked Reardon whether his faith would “interfere with your judgment” on some issues. 

When Reardon declined to discuss his religious beliefs, Duff pressed him: “Are you Roman Catholic?” 

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts denounced Duff’s line of questioning as “outrageous, unconscionable, unheard of, unlawful, and unconstitutional.” 

The group’s executive director, C.J. Doyle, pointed out that Article VI of the US Constitution explicitly prohibits any religious test for public office, and both state and federal law ban discrimination the basis of religion. 

“If a private employer in the Bay State examined an applicant about his religious faith, he would expose himself to civil liabilities, enforcement proceedings before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and, potentially, criminal penalties in a court of law,” Doyle remarked.

“The presumption behind the question by Duff is that Catholicism is suspect, and Catholics cannot be trusted to impartially administer the law,” Doyle continued. 

He argued that since “Duff has, obviously, no understanding, respect or sympathy for the constitutional protections and religious freedom guarantees upon which this nation was founded, she ought to resign from office, and stop poisoning the judicial nominating process with her crude prejudices.”

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