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Asking Amy Coney Barrett tough questions about the values that guide her is not anti-Catholic

I don’t know whether asking such questions would create the political backlash columnist S.E. Cupp warns of, but it’s a job that needs to be done.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Donald Trump on Saturday.
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As a Catholic woman, I disagree with columnist S.E. Cupp, who wrote Thursday about the questions Democrats in the Senate might put to Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Cupp did not speak for all Catholics.

When members of the Senate ask nominees questions about their values, they are doing their job. Supreme Court justices are appointed and for life. Why wouldn’t the senators make sure that the nominee is a good fit? It will not be “bigotry or shameful” — Cupp’s words — if the senators ask Barrett about her values and how she plans to use them in making decisions as a justice.

A person’s ideology shouldn’t be allowed to cloud their judgment. I would expect this level of questioning no matter in what way, or in whatever category, the nominee were similar to me.

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Cupp wrote about “the left and members of the media” attempting to “otherize a conservative Catholic woman this way.” But, certainly, Republican members of the Senate during the confirmation hearing will have questions for the nominee, too — or they should. Asking questions is “otherizing?”

I don’t know if asking Barrett such questions would create the political backlash Cupp warns of, but it’s a job that needs to be done.

Deedee Dawson, Old Town

On the naive support progressive tax

Don’t be naive about the proposed graduate tax amendment for Illinois. Maybe the threshold for the highest tax rate will start at $250,000, but there’s nothing to stop the legislature from lowering that rate over time.

It’s amusing that Missouri is still listed as a state with a progressive income tax though taxpayers there reach the top tier rate at a mere $10,000 of income. When Missouri’s current tax system was adopted, it truly was progressive, but the top tier never goes up and easily can be lowered.

As for pensions, the amendment on the Illinois ballot would allow the state Legislature to adopt a pension tax with its own threshold, for example $100,000. The Legislature can’t do that given the current constitutional language because all pension income would have to be taxed, which would be political suicide. But once you’ve got the ability to tax pensions above a certain level, that level can be reduced over time — or at least never be increased even as inflation continues its work on average incomes.

People also need to understand that pensions can include income from Social Security and 401K required distributions, not just income from defined benefit pension plans.

It’s very easy for a retiree to establish residence in another state without even having to permanently move out of Illinois. The primary test is whether you live less than six months of the year here in Illinois. Then Illinois would lose the income tax being paid currently.

Douglas German, Crystal Lake