By: Tom Duggan – Oct. 6, 2016|6pm
Republican Governor’s Council candidate, Rich Baker is accusing the incumbent Governor’s Councilor, Eileen Duff (D) of applying “a religious litmus test” in the way she approves judges. Baker also called on Duff to publicly apologize for what he called “anti-Catholic” and “anti-religious” statements during her questioning of judicial nominee James Gavin Reardon, Jr. as a judge to the Superior Court.
The Governor’s Council is an elected board whose function is to approve judges, the parole board, and give advice and consent on pardons and commuting prisoner’s sentences.
Rich Baker said that the comments Duff made during Reardon’s nomination hearing were “outrageous” and displayed an “intolerant and hostile attitude toward the nominee’s religion … out-of-bounds, and represents exactly what’s wrong with our politics today.”
According to a press release issued by candidate Baker, Duff raised the judicial candidate’s religion as follows:
“You don’t feel that your religious belief would interfere with your judgement on any of this?” Duff asked. “Because we’ve seen it on the U.S. Supreme Court actually interfere with people’s judgement.”
“With all due respect, we haven’t determined what my religious belief is,” Reardon replied.
Duff contended that Reardon had “shared with us that you’re Roman Catholic,” but Reardon said he doesn’t “believe I’ve shared that,” while allowing that he’d defended the Catholic Church.
“Are you Roman Catholic?” Duff asked.
“I’m not really going to get into what my religious beliefs are, respectfully,” Reardon replied.
Baker said that “lines of questioning like this demonstrate how unqualified our current Governor’s Councilor is, and why voters should demand change.
“He doesn’t’ know what he’s talking about,” Duff told The Valley Patriot in an exclusive interview Friday afternoon.
“There was nothing anti-Catholic about any of our conversation, and Mr. Baker wasn’t even at this hearing. In fact, he hasn’t been at any hearings.”
“I am Roman Catholic myself, and in fact, I am probably the only person on that board that goes to church every week. But, I did ask Mr Reardon if he thought his faith would color his ability to rule on something that might be against his faith. I think that’s important. In fact, I noticed he had his prior work with Catholic organizations all over his resume, and it fascinated me. If he’s putting it all out there, I don’t think I’m doing my job if I don’t’ at least ask that question.”
“What I did have a problem with, was that he denied his faith,” she continued. “That bothered me. I am a Roman Catholic and you should never deny your faith. But, I don’t think that’s relevant to my decision. I think he’s going to be a terrific judge. I’m voting for him. I think he’s terrific. So, Mr. Baker should probably show up to these meetings so he knows what he’s talking about while he is trying to get elected.”
“I think it’s horrible Mr. Baker is sensationalizing this and I think he should apologize for not knowing what he is taking about. He knows not of what he speaks. I can tell you that.”‘