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  • Supreme Court Refuses to Disqualify Justice Barrett from The Satanic Temple’s Abortion Case

    Published on November 16, 2020

    SALEM, MA — While The Satainc Temple’s appeal in its lawsuit over Missouri’s abortion laws is still scheduled to be reviewed by the US Supreme Court to decide if they will hear the case, the US Supreme Court dismissed The Satanic Temple’s (TST’s) motion to disqualify Justice Amy Coney Barrett due to questions regarding her ability to impartially consider a case involving abortion.

    TST’s complaint was initially filed when TST member Judy Doe, seeking an abortion in Missouri, was forced to accept literature that asserted the position that life begins at conception and then was made to endured a three-day waiting period that was designed to instill guilt and shame for her decision. TST argued that the imposition of this arbitrary view on when life begins violates their religious beliefs of science and bodily autonomy, and creates an unconstitutional undue burden on Doe’s religious practices. The Eighth Circuit Court dismissed the case and held that Missouri’s proclamations do not violate Doe’s free exercise of religion, even though they are rooted in Catholic dogma. TST appealed this decision to the Supreme Court.

    In its motion to disqualify, TST stated that “any objective observer would reasonably believe it is unlikely Justice Barrett could set aside her religious conviction, impervious to reasoned argumentation, regarding the illegitimacy of abortion and barbarity of [Roe v. Wade] to render an impartial decision on the Petition.” TST spokesperson and cofounder Lucien Greaves states, “We cited numerous examples in our motion that unequivocally display Justice Barrett’s hostility towards the act of terminating a pregnancy. Yet, the Supreme Court refused to recognize that her dogmatic conclusions related to abortion, which she announced publicly, can reasonably affect her ability to impartially rule on our religious freedom claims.”

    Greaves continues, “Federal law states that  judges must disqualify themselves in any proceeding in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Because the Supreme Court has essentially removed any basis for asserting bias, they invite questions about the legitimacy of the legal system as a whole. When the Supreme Court considers if they will hear our abortion case in conference on November 20, we hope for the sake of upholding fair and impartial jurisprudence that they will make decisions justified by established legal precedence.”