U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) during the confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett, who was appointed to United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit by President Donald Trump, referred to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) as a hate group.
Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame University, was invited to give a one-hour presentation on Constitutional Law for the Blackstone Legal Fellowship which is a legal training program for Christian law school students founded by Alliance Defending Freedom.
Franken referred to the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s (SPLC) designation of ADF as a hate group because they are deemed “anti-LGBT.” SPLC has labeled ADF and several Christian groups as “hate groups” along with neo-Nazis and the KKK because of their opposition to same-sex marriage, and their defense of religious liberty and conscience for business owners coerced to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Franken said Barrett “lacked judgment” because she spoke to ADF which he then called a hate group.
Barrett said that she was familiar with Blackstone Legal Fellowship due some of her students and colleagues participation, but did not research all of ADF’s policy positions prior to speaking and was not aware of any controversy.
“I had no reason to think it was a hate group and that was certainly not my experience,” she said.
“It is deeply regrettable that Sen. Franken is misinformed about our work on behalf of religious freedom, something so ‘extreme’ that even seven justices of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with our position three months ago in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer. There is a real danger of conflating genuine hate groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, with mainstream religious beliefs that are shared by millions of Americans and people from all walks of life across the world,” ADF President, CEO and General Counsel Michael Farris said responding in a released statement.
“As a member of Congress, Sen. Franken needs to fact-check before parroting discredited attacks by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a once-proud civil rights organization that is now a left-wing smear machine known to incite violence. Alliance Defending Freedom is the largest religious liberty legal advocacy organization in the world and advocates for the freedom of all people—including Sen. Franken’s constituents—to peacefully live, speak, and work consistently with their convictions without fear of government punishment,” he added.
Barrett who is a Catholic was also grilled by other Senate Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee concerned about how her Catholic faith may impact her decision-making.
Watch Franken’s interaction with Barrett below: