Oct 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Conservatives invoke JFK to defend ACB

Judge Amy Coney Barrett smiles
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the US Supreme Court, meets with Senator from Louisiana Bill Cassidy ((off frame)(R-LA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October, 1, 2020. (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Judicial Crisis Network is enlisting John F. Kennedy's voice in a new ad defending Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett against concerns that her Catholic faith will guide her judicial decisions.

Details: The ad relies on then-Senator Kennedy's famous speech on religious tolerance ahead of his election as the nation's first Catholic president.

  • "Today I may be the victim," Kennedy told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September 1960. "But tomorrow it may be you."

Reality check: While most Supreme Court justices have been Protestant over the course of U.S. history, Catholics currently comprise a majority of the nation's high court.

The big picture: "JFK" is the latest ad in a $10 million blitz by the conservative group as they brace for contentious confirmation hearings starting Oct. 12, just three weeks before election day.

  • Reserving time in Colorado, Iowa and West Virginia, JCN is hoping to sway senators from those states to support Barrett and secure her confirmation.
  • Organizations on both sides of the aisle are spending millions to try to influence lawmakers in the fight to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat and energize socially-driven voters ahead of November.

The backdrop: The Trump campaign and conservative groups have been sensitive to speculation by Democrats about how Barrett's own faith could impact rulings.

  • Democrats fear going too hard on Barrett in her confirmation hearings could backfire but that's also because she's a woman.
  • They plan to give Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris a spotlight to shine attention on Barrett's history on health care and labor rights.
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