Season 2, Ep. 01: Amy Coney Barrett hearings and the Supreme Court’s future

Amanda and Holly kick off season two with a look at the newest Supreme Court justice

Oct 29, 2020

What did we learn about religious freedom from the Amy Coney Barrett hearings? To kick off season two of Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman put the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Justice Amy Coney Barrett into context, spotlighting the religious freedom issues raised – or politicized – during the event. And, after so much talk about the Constitution’s prohibition on a religious test for office, they ask an important question: Who was imposing a religious test during the hearings? Plus, in segment three, they look at how religion is showing up in our world today, including in a controversy with one of the Hollywood stars named “Chris” and a recent statement by Pope Francis about civil unions.

Segment one: Barrett and Ginsburg, Cruz and Cornyn (starts at 1:09)

Amanda mentioned two pieces BJC wrote about the impact and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Click here to read BJC’s review of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s church-state record, which was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee before the hearings began. It includes questions BJC suggested that senators ask of her.

For clips of discussions of religious liberty during the two days of hearings that involved questions, check out these two articles by Don Byrd on the “Latest News” section of our website:

Segment two: What did Judge Barrett say about religious freedom during her hearings? (17:43)

Read the most recent State of the First Amendment Survey at this link, published by the Freedom Forum Institute. It says only 4% of respondents can name “petition” as one of the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. 

Holly mentioned the travel ban issued by President Trump in his first week in office. Read more about that case, which eventually was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court as Trump v. Hawaii:

Holly mentioned the upcoming Fulton v. Philadelphia case, which focuses on nondiscrimination in government-funded foster care. Learn more at

Holly recently presented during a webinar on the future of the Establishment Clause, hosted by the American Bar Association (ABA). You can watch it at this link. The ABA also did a seminar on the Free Exercise Clause, which is available at this link.

Amanda wrote a commentary about Article VI and the “no religious test” principle before the confirmation hearings began. You can read it at this link, published by Good Faith Media: 

This article from The Washington Post that includes the number of times “religion” was mentioned: Democrats’ non-persecution of Amy Coney Barrett

Segment three: Where did we see religion in our world? Recent discussions on religion and LGBTQ rights in our culture (38:40)

Holly mentioned the story surrounding Chris Pratt and his church’s stance on same-sex marriage. Here’s an article from The Washington Post: The latest celebrity cause: Defending the honor of Chris Pratt.

Read more on BJC’s website about the recent statement from Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito about the Court reconsidering the Obergefell case in 2015 that upheld same-sex marriage. Statement from Justices Thomas and Alito on religious liberty and same-sex marriage makes tensions worse

Amanda mentioned this New York Times article about Pope Francis and his recent support of civil unions: In Shift for Church, Pope Francis Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions