Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Southern Appeal for directing me to both of these stories, because they’re just too good to pass up. And by good, I mean bad, as in bad “reporting” on the part of ABC News. First, let’s try this one, on the impending Catholic majority on the SCOTUS. Early on, of course, we have an expert:
"There is some fear that they might perhaps, on some issues like abortion, carry out a kind of Catholic jurisprudence rather than reflecting a broader point of view," said John Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Now, the article isn’t completely one-sided, but for the bulk of it we see mostly an examination of historical anti-Catholic biases. Then finally, once most readers have tuned out:
“[T]he Vatican — weighing in just before Election Day [this followed a discussion of John Kerry’s Catholicism, which I won’t address here] — ordered that politicians who support abortion rights should be denied communion.
So would the same pressure be applied to a judge or a justice? Is it fair to even ask?
For instance, the Catholic Church opposes the practice of capital punishment. Do observant Catholic judges not have an obligation to rule that way?
"The answer is no," said legal scholar Douglas Kmiec of Pepperdine University's School of Law. "The judge has no moral responsibility for the laws that his community enacts."
Scholars say, according to the Catholic Church, what is expected of a judge or a justice is not to make laws, but simply to interpret as fairly as possible how the laws made by legislators jibe with the Constitution.
"So judges are responsible for abiding by the morality in their own lives, but they are not responsible for imposing that morality in judicial decision-making," Kmiec added.”
And if you read far enough, the article even mentions that religious tests are a no-no, but honestly, who reads that far? And for those who are concerned about the court “shifting” when Alito replaces O’Connor, keep in mind that O’Connor is Episcopalian (as is Souter). They say it isn’t funny if you have to point out why, but I will anyway. O’Connor has been lionized by the left as this wonderfully moderate figure, but they forget that she sided with the court’s “conservatives” on a lot of really important issues. Now, I know Episcopalians aren’t exactly Roman Catholics, but I’ll take up that issue with Henry VIII in hell. If this religion whatnot interests you though, check this out.
Ok, so that wasn’t exactly horrible, if you want that, you need to read this article, also from ABC. Just a start:
“At the historic swearing-in of John Roberts as the 17th chief justice of the United States last September, every member of the Supreme Court, except Antonin Scalia, was in attendance. ABC News has learned that Scalia instead was on the tennis court at one of the country's top resorts, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Bachelor Gulch, Colo., during a trip to a legal seminar sponsored by the Federalist Society.” [cue scary music]
And again, the first “expert” we hear from:
"It's unfortunate of course that what kept him from the swearing-in was an activity that is itself of dubious ethical propriety," said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, who is a recognized scholar on legal ethics.”
I KNOW! Why in the world would he want to teach CLE? Apparently, because he had made a prior commitment. Unfortunately, the commitment was to the nefarious Federalist Society (mischaracterized as a “conservative activist group” in the article), roughly akin to selling his soul, since he already lost his conscience somewhere:
"I think Justice Scalia should not have gone on that trip for several reasons," Gillers commented. "They are a group with a decided political-slash-judicial profile."
One night at the resort, Scalia attended a cocktail reception, sponsored in part by the same lobbying and law firm where convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff once worked. [increase scary music volume]
"You know a lot of people would be embarrassed at that. I don't think Antonin Scalia will be embarrassed," Gillers continued.
Should it bother me that Gillers speaks in slashes? I bet he uses hand quotes too. As for the group having such a decided profile, he must be right, that’s clearly why we have all of these debates…
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