WINDSOR TERRACE — If Joe Biden is certified as the winner of the election and becomes the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, Catholics will be looking carefully at the new administration to see how it aligns with their deeply-felt views on issues.
It would likely be a mixed bag, as evidenced by Biden’s publicly known stands on issues like abortion, religious freedom, immigration, and the death penalty.
The results of the election are still being disputed, however. Biden, the Democratic candidate, was projected by media outlets all over the world as the winner of the presidential race on Nov. 7, four days after Election Day. President Donald Trump, a Republican, is contesting the results and has not conceded the election.
Trump’s re-election campaign has filed lawsuits in states where the results were close, charging irregularities in the process of counting mail-in ballots.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, announced that an additional lawsuit would be filed in Pennsylvania, the state that appeared to put Biden over the top in the Electoral College with its 20 electoral votes.
Giuliani told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” on Fox News Channel on Nov. 8 that one lawsuit would definitely be filed and that two other suits were being prepared alleging voter fraud. Giuliani also told Bartiromo that as many as 10 lawsuits were a possibility. “There is strong evidence that this was an election that in at least three or four states, and possibly 10, it was stolen,” Giuliani stated.
Charges of voter fraud in the 2020 election should be taken seriously, according to Kenneth Starr, a former federal judge who gained fame in the 1990s for leading the investigation that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
In an appearance on “Life, Liberty & Levin” on Fox News Channel, Starr charged that Pennsylvania officials committed a “constitutional travesty” by changing the rules to allow mail-in ballots received three days after Election Day to still be counted.
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former member of the Federal Elections Commission, told host Mark Levin that it’s important to wait until all recanvassing efforts and recounts are completed before declaring a presidential candidate a winner. A recanvass is a review of the vote totals. A recount is literally that, a process in which votes are recounted.
“Recanvassings often turn up mistakes that were made,” von Spakovsky said. “Recounts can also change results.”
Should Biden be ultimately declared the winner of the election, he will come under scrutiny from Catholics and others over several hot button issues.
Biden is Catholic but his stand on abortion is at odds with Catholic doctrine. On the campaign trail in October, Biden, a Democrat, vowed to codify Roe v. Wade into law should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the landmark 1973 decision allowing abortions.
“It’s a woman’s right to do that. Period,” Biden said in answer to a question about abortion at a Democratic Party debate in February.
Before the election, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that abortion is the top issue for Catholics to consider when they vote.
“Abortion ends the life of a child and offends God. It also deeply wounds the women and men involved,” a statement on the USCCB’s website reads.
In October, Biden was asked at a town hall in Miami how he would protect “abortion rights” with Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the U.S. Supreme Court. “The only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land. That’s what I would do,” he said.
Coney Barrett was confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 27. Coney Barrett is Catholic but during her confirmation hearing she did not signal how she would vote in Supreme Court deliberations on abortion-related cases.
Biden’s view on religious liberty issues — such as exemptions for Catholic organizations that do not want to cover contraception under the Affordable Care Act — differ from Church doctrine.
Following a Supreme Court decision in July in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor in their religious liberty lawsuit against the contraception mandate in the ACA, Biden promised to revoke the exemption once he takes office. He called the court’s ruling “disappointing.”
The lawsuit, which was filed by the Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home against the state of Pennsylvania, charged that forcing the religious order to cover insurance costs for contraception for their employees violated their religious freedom.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been advocating for comprehensive immigration reform for several years and Biden agrees.
Biden has vowed to provide permanent legal protections for so-called Dreamers, young adults brought illegally into the U.S. as infants and toddlers by their parents. The USCCB has been a champion for Dreamers and has called for the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to be made permanent.
Biden has also promised to overturn Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border and has said he would rescind a policy that restricts the number of people allowed to apply for asylum.
This is another area where Biden and the Catholic Church are in alignment. The church’s pro-life stand also includes opposition to capital punishment. The church teaches that only God should decide when a life ends, not the state.
Biden stated in 2019 that he opposes the death penalty and would eliminate it for federal crimes. He said he would opt instead for sentences of life in prison without parole for those convicted of certain crimes.
But his position has changed. Prior to 2019, he supported capital punishment. The 1994 federal crime bill, which he helped pass as a senator, contained the Federal Death Penalty Act, which created 60 new categories of crimes for which one could be sentenced to death.