I would like to take issue with the headline on an Associated Press article on Page A3 of the Sept. 26 print edition: “Trump expected to name Catholic to high court.”

This is not news. With five sitting justices (Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas), who are practicing Catholics, and a sixth (Neil Gorsuch) who was raised Catholic, the notion of another Catholic on the Supreme Court is a big yawn – unless you believe that there is some sort of political or moral determinism that accompanies a person’s faith and that the Catholicism of nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett will inevitably influence her opinions in some predictable fashion. If readers are intended to see “Catholic” and understand “conservative,” then Justice Sotomayor is the living repudiation of that logic.

It is also un-American. In good time, some president or presidents will nominate a Muslim, an atheist, a Hindu, a practitioner of one of the United States’ many Indigenous traditions or some other faith not yet observed by a Supreme Court justice past or present. Each one of them will be a first and therefore news. But each one of them will have personal and judicial philosophies that range well beyond the tenets of their beliefs, and they should not be treated as reductively as you have treated Barrett.

Victoria Smith
South Portland

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