Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pro-Choice Groups May Drop "Choice" in Abortion Debate

The Democratic think tank Third Way -- run by the same strategists who moved the party to the center on the gun issue -- is crafting new message and policy ideas to help Democrats appeal to Red State voters on abortion, Newsweek reports in the current issue.

And the pro-choice groups themselves have begun tinkering with their approach, even considering whether to abandon the framework of "choice" itself. Last week Democrats signaled that abortion -- or at least the general topic of "privacy" -- will be a major issue at Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' confirmation hearings.

The pro-choice groups themselves have also been heatedly debating what to do. This spring, activists in New York and Seattle invited Berkeley linguist George Lakoff to speak about how to reframe the abortion issue.

"They found that choice wasn't playing very well," says Lakoff, who's become an unofficial guru to beleaguered Democrats. He told the groups it was no wonder: "choice" came from a "consumerist" vocabulary, while "life" came from a moral one.

In one of his more controversial suggestions, he advised the activists to reclaim the "life" issue by blaming Republicans for high U.S. infant-mortality rates and mercury pollution that can cause birth defects. "Basically what I'm saying is that conservatives are killing babies," he says.

Lakoff advised focusing on reducing unwanted pregnancies and suggested that the groups talk about "personal freedom," a phrase intended to evoke unpopular government intrusion into matters like the Schiavo case.
My Comments:
The fact that pro-abortion groups have to adopt euphemisms in order to sell their death agenda tells you all you need to know about the abortion movement.

The former "National Abortion Rights League" (aka "NARAL") has already recently changed its name to "NARAL Pro-Choice America", thereby dropping the reference to "abortion". What will they do if they have to drop the reference to "choice" as well from their recently adopted name change?

Specter Seeks Veto-Proof Stem Cell Margin

From Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Despite a boost from the majority leader, there is not enough Senate support now to override a threatened veto if Congress tries to ease restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, a key proponent said Sunday.

A favorable Senate vote is considered more likely now that Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has reversed his position to support more federal dollars for research. However, the Senate vote will not matter if, as lawmakers predicted, a veto by President Bush stands in the House.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who sponsors a bill easing restrictions that Bush put in place, said Frist gave his side "a big boost." A vote on the bill could come in September.

While a bill would pass the Senate with a simple majority, 67 senators would be needed to fend off a veto by Bush if all 100 senators voted.

"My analysis is that we have 62 votes at the present time, and we've got about 15 more people who are thinking it over," Specter said on "Face the Nation" on CBS. "I believe that by the time the vote comes up, we'll have 67."

On the same program, a leading opponent of embryonic stem cell research, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., countered: "You don't have the votes in the House of Representatives to overcome a presidential veto."

However, even supporters allow that successful stem cell treatments are still years away. Foes of the research consider it the equivalent of abortion because embryos must be destroyed to harvest the stem cells.

"And this is an innocent human life," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said on "This Week" on ABC. "You're destroying this life for the purpose of research which has questionable value."

Santorum said that "without question, the president will veto this."
My Comments:
Looks like President Bush's and Senator Santorum's big mistake of supporting Specter against a pro-life candidate in last year's Pennsylvania Republican Primary is about to come back and bite them big time in the ass.

Catholic League: Frist is Worse Than Kerry on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

On Friday, the Catholic League issued the following press release:
July 29, 2005


Senator Bill Frist formally broke today with the Bush administration’s opposition to embryonic stem cell research. Commenting on the break is Catholic League president William Donohue:

“Here is what Senator John Kerry said when running for president: ‘I believe life does begin at conception.’ Here is what Senator Bill Frist is now saying: ‘I believe human life begins at conception.’ They now agree on one more thing: They will do absolutely nothing to protect the beginning of innocent human life.

“Frist is worse than Kerry. Kerry, a lawyer, said his position on the beginning of human life was based on ‘my Catholic belief.’ Frist, a physician, says that while his Christian faith informs his position, there’s more to it: ‘But, to me, it isn’t just a matter of faith. It’s a fact of science.’

“And it’s a fact of politics that Frist is such a hypocrite. His change of heart has nothing to do with any scientific breakthrough: there is no new evidence suggesting that the human embryo does not constitute human life, nor is there any evidence that embryonic stem cell research can be performed without killing embryos. What’s changed is that Dr. Duplicity wants to be president.

“Frist still calls himself ‘strong[ly] pro-life,’ and says he gives ‘huge moral significance to the human embryo.’ Furthermore, he says the human embryo ‘is nascent human life,’ explaining that we should ‘treat that embryo with dignity, with respect.’ Which raises the question: If it’s okay to snuff out the beginning of human life, how much dignity and respect may logically be accorded the dead?

“Frist says he is not going to run for senator of Tennessee again. Now it’s up to the Republican leadership to make sure he has no future role to play in their party. Who knows, if Frist becomes increasingly Kerryesque, maybe the Dems will draft him?”

Internet Campaign to Defend Roberts’ Religious Faith in Hearings

On Friday, Catholic based advocacy group Fidelis issued the following press release:
July 29, 2005

Internet Campaign to Defend Roberts’ Religious Faith in Hearings
Ads Cite Harkin Anti-Religious Bigotry during Air America Interview with Randi Rhodes

WASHINGTON — The Catholic based advocacy group Fidelis has launched the first phase of an internet advertising campaign to prevent anti-religious bigotry in the confirmation hearings of Judge John Roberts. The campaign which cites examples of anti-religious comments made by Democratic leaders Howard Dean, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) was launched on the websites of National Review Online and Catholic Exchange will expand to other websites and blogs over the coming week.

Since President Bush nominated Judge Roberts to serve on the Supreme Court, both he and his wife have been subjected to harsh attacks and offensive questioning about their religious beliefs by the media, liberal groups, and even some members of the United States Senate.

“We warned the public that anti-religious bigotry would enter the confirmation process just as it has in the past. Less than twenty four hours after Judge Roberts’ nomination, we began seeing these mean-spirited attacks surface, and we expect there is more to come,” said Fidelis President Joseph Cella.

During an interview with Randi Rhodes on her Air America radio show on June 8, 2005, Harkin described Christian Broadcasters as follows: “They are sort of our own home grown Taliban….if you don’t tune into their line, then you’re obviously on Satan’s line.”

Cella added: “By shining a bright light on these outrageously intolerant remarks, particularly those of Senator Harkin, we hope to put an end to them or at least deter others from embracing them during the confirmation of Judge John Roberts.”

Roberts has faced inquiries about his ‘personal views’ and hypothetical questions involving his religious faith which he holds dearly. Article VI, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution prohibits such religious tests saying: “[B]ut no religious test shall ever be required a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

“It is critical that those members of the U.S. Senate that have demonstrated hostility toward conservative Christians in the past not allow their prejudices to affect the upcoming confirmation hearings. When a judicial nominee is subjected to bigoted and irrelevant questions about their faith, it is not only unconstitutional, it is an insult to all people of faith. Utilizing the internet component of our advertising campaign, we hope to make it clear that the upcoming confirmation hearings must be free of all questions related to Judge Roberts’ religious or personal beliefs,” stated Cella.

Cella said: “If Senator Harkin believes Christian Broadcasters represent “our own home grown Taliban,” what are we to assume he believes about Judge John Roberts who is a faithful Catholic? We hope Senator Harkin can find a way to set aside his anti-religious bigotry and fulfill his Constitutional obligation as a United States Senator.”

“Senator Harkin will be home in Iowa over the next few weeks on recess, so people across the Hawkeye State should tell the Senator to apologize for his bigoted remark against Christian broadcasters, and tell him not to subject Judge Roberts to the same treatment,” Cella concluded.


Fidelis is a Catholic-based organization working with people of faith across the country to defend and promote the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the right to religious liberty by electing pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious liberty candidates, supporting the confirmation of judges, and promoting and defending laws faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A Document Request for Senator Schumer

Northwestern University law professor Steven G. Calabresi, writing in The Weekly Standard, proposes an interesting document request for Senator Chuck Schumer:
SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER of New York has led the charge for Senate Democrats over the last several days in demanding the release of thousands of pages of highly confidential internal executive branch memos written by Supreme Court nominee John Roberts when he worked as a deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration. These document requests are unprecedented in their nature and scope and call on the Bush administration to waive executive privilege and attorney-client privilege to a degree that no other administration has ever previously been asked to do.

Republicans are skeptical of the Schumer request and suspect the senator is on a fishing expedition to try to dig up something with which to oppose the hitherto unassailable Roberts nomination. Republicans have solid reason to suspect Schumer of this, since he was overheard saying on a cell phone that he was going to go to war against whoever the president nominated before Roberts was even nominated.

Evaluation of whether Schumer is or is not on a fishing expedition is impossible given the public record as it stands now. Accordingly, Senate Republicans and the administration should call on Senator Schumer to immediately release and make public all conversations and emails between the senator and his staff, between Schumer staffers and outside left-wing advocacy groups, and between Schumer staffers themselves relating to the Roberts nomination. Schumer should also be required to release phone records of all telephone and cell phone calls that were placed between his office and outside advocacy groups since the Roberts nomination.


Family Meals

Hat tip: Southern Appeal

From the Wall Street Journal:
Much Depends on Dinner
Families don't sit down to eat together anymore. Something has been lost.

Friday, July 29, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

... These days, fewer than one-third of all children sit down to eat dinner with both parents on any given night. The statistics are worse if both parents are working and the family is Caucasian (Latino families have the highest rate of sharing a meal). The decline in the family dinner has been blamed for the rise in obesity, drug abuse, behavioral problems, promiscuity, poor school performance, illegal file sharing and a host of other ills.

In my home, I rarely eat dinner with my two children and wife more than twice a week. Because I commute 55 miles to Manhattan, I seldom return before 7:30 or 8 at night, which is simply too late for our nine-year-old and six-year-old to eat. Instead, my wife feeds them microwaved chicken nuggets, hot dogs, plain pasta and other staples from the children's food pyramid. Sometimes she will wait for me; more often I pick up something at Grand Central and eat on the train.

Even on days when we are all together, our dinner table resembles a diner, with each family member ordering his own meal. My son will eat pasta with pesto, but not with red sauce, while his sister loves the latter but hates the former. She will eat hamburgers and chicken, while my son will only eat hot dogs. Neither likes cereal with milk, but my daughter adores milk and cereal (just not together). My son can't stand either. We accommodate their pickiness because we can and because it's easier than the consequences if we don't.

The causes for the incredible disappearing family dinner are many. As women have entered the work force in greater numbers, fewer hands are available to shop and cook. Both parents are working longer hours and commuting farther, which makes it harder to get home in time to share a meal. Children are busier, too, overcommitted to school and sports and other activities, which has made coordinating dinner time more difficult. Finally, the plethora of fast-food choices exemplified by the TV dinner, though partly an effect of our changing style of life, is also a cause: The easier it is to pick up or microwave something on the run, the less likely we are to share our meal with others.

As food preparation has become easier, meals quicker and distractions ubiquitous, it's tempting to view the family dinner as simply another choice from columns A, B or C. Just as television has splintered its viewing audience, TV dinners have splintered the dining audience. When anyone can eat alone, few eat together.

And that's a shame. Because dinner is like a formal poem, with a fixed meter and time. It can't be hastened by new technology or emailed as an attachment to our kitchens. Instead, it's one of the few opportunities for conversation in a noisy world, a place to take a slower measure of our frenzied days. By missing mealtime, we are missing a substantial part of our children's lives. Sooner than we realize, they will not be at our table. Sooner than that, they will not want to have anything to do with us.

My Comments:
Only one of the many reasons that my family is moving to a small city in the Midwest where (1) Mom and Dad don't have to commute 40-45 minutes to work every day dropping the kids off at daycare on the way, (2) Mom can stay home with the two kids we already have and we can afford to increase the size of our family with only one parent working, and (3) Dad gets to work from home.

Realizing that there is no such thing as the "ideal" situation, this will certainly make real family meals together more of a reality.

Wall Street Journal: "Roberts and Rome"

Hat tip: Amy Welborn

Douglas Kmiec in today's Wall Street Journal:
Roberts and Rome
Does Catholic belief interfere with judicial reasoning? What kind of question is that?

Friday, July 29, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

Democrats take umbrage when they are accused of using faith--specifically the Roman Catholic faith--as a reason for blocking President Bush's appellate nominees. Sen. Patrick Leahy and others have denied that they apply a religious litmus test, and little wonder: It would contravene Article VI of the Constitution (the prohibition of religious oaths) and the First Amendment's free-exercise guarantee. But darned if the topic just doesn't keep coming up.

It was reported this week that John Roberts, President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) "what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral." Judge Roberts supposedly answered that he would consider recusal.

It was an informal conversation, and Sen. Durbin has since backpedaled, so what either man said is now a bit murky. Nevertheless, a widely circulated op-ed from the Los Angeles Times--by law professor Jonathan Turley--took issue with Judge Roberts's answer, questioning his "fitness to serve as the 109th Supreme Court justice." Add to this a good deal of published concern over the devout Catholicism of Judge Roberts's wife, and her membership in a pro-life organization, and it is clear that the Democrats are being urged to play the religion card. They shouldn't.

In this supposed controversy it is fitting to recall St. Thomas More, known to history for resigning the chancellorship of England when he failed to persuade Henry VIII not to declare himself head of the church. More is revered as a martyr for dying "the King's good servant, but God's first." But as the patron saint of lawyers and statesmen, More is far better remembered for his earnest efforts, at every turn, to avoid inescapable conflict among law, faith and public duty.

Judge Roberts listens carefully to the questions he is asked, and the extreme premise of Sen. Durbin's question -- as reported -- was a judicial action requiring an immoral act. One would hope that all Americans, Catholic or otherwise, would recuse themselves from that.

(emphasis added)

Thoughts from the Right: "The Integration of Faith and Politics"

You might want to head over to Will Bloomfield's blog, Thoughts from the Right, to read his insightful comments on the different approaches taken by Democrats and Republicans to integrating faith and politics:
Many Catholics justify their support for Democrats by trying to argue that Republicans get it wrong on some issues too, and that if Democrats get it wrong on abortion, homosexuality, and secularism, they get it right on the death penalty, poverty, environment, etc. In fact, liberal Catholic groups like to "grade" our Catholic Congressmen, and the liberals like Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin almost always get very high grades, whereas conservative Catholics like Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback are always graded poorly.

There are many reasons why I these grades are wrong, but at this time, I would simply like to make an observation.

It's interesting that the Catholic Democrats get the highest grades because these are the same Democrats who repeatedly tell us that it is wrong to impose one's morality, especially on abortion. So what principles are these highly graded Democratic senators basing their decisions on?

I think it's hard to praise someone as a good Catholic legislator when that person is adamant that his faith does NOT inform his politics.

Roberts Would Become Supreme Court's 4th Catholic

From the Chicago Tribune:
If John Roberts Jr. is confirmed, he will be the fourth Roman Catholic on the Supreme Court, an all-time high that is focusing attention on how faith might influence law on the high court.

From abortion to capital punishment to physician-assisted suicide, the coming term offers plenty of issues in which the Catholic Church has strong interest. But history shows a justice's religion does not provide a road map for rulings.

Abortion, the main religious matter pertaining to Roberts' nomination, is a telling example. The Catholic Church's policy is that abortion is wrong in every instance.

Two of the Catholic justices on the court, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, are abortion foes. Scalia, whose son Paul is a priest, and Thomas are sometimes seen walking together to the court after attending mass on holy days of obligation.

The third Catholic, Anthony Kennedy, voted with the majority in a 5-4 ruling in 1992 reaffirming the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, despite some apparent inner turmoil. The late Justice Harry Blackmun said Kennedy worried "about the attention he would get as a Roman Catholic reaffirming Roe."

Many would like to hear Roberts' position on abortion: An AP-Ipsos poll released last week found 52 percent of Americans want Roberts to reveal his stand on the issue before the Senate's confirmation vote.

[Full story]
My Comments:
Oh no! It's a Romish conspiracy to replace America's Constitution and English common law jurisprudence with Canon Law and Popery*!

*That's "popery" (i.e. Roman Catholicism), not potpourri (stuff that, according to some people, smells good).

Frist to Back Embryonic Stem Cell Research

From Fox News:
WASHINGTON — Breaking with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) said Friday he now supports legislation to remove some of the administration's limitations on embryonic stem cell research.

Frist, an abortion opponent who just last month said he did not support expanding federal financing of research on embryos (search), said his decision was consistent with both his experience as a physician and his anti-abortion stance.

Bush has threatened to veto legislation for expanded financial support for stem cell research (search). A bill to finance more stem cell research has passed the House, but has been stalled in the Senate. Frist's support could push it closer to passage and set up a confrontation with Bush.

Interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America," Frist said his decision was based on policy, not politics.

To many abortion opponents, the two views seem to conflict. Frist says they do not.

"I give huge moral significance to the human embryo, it is nascent human life, what that means is as we advance science, we treat that embryo with dignity, with respect," Frist said.

Frist said additional stem cells should be used, so long as there was a careful process of informed consent in which the parents had decided that the embryos should be discarded, not adopted or frozen.
My Comments:
Bye-bye, Bill. I guess you've given up your presidential ambitions.

Can someone please tell me again why pro-lifers should keep supporting the Republican Party? I know that we should avoid the Democrat Party (aka the Party of Death) like the plague. But why should we continue to devote our time, money, and efforts in the front lines of Republican electoral politics?

Democrats Use Santorum's New Book Against Him

From Cybercast News Service:
( - Sen. Rick Santorum makes fellow his Republican Trent Lott look like left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore, says a group that works to elect Senate Democrats.

In other words, Santorum is so conservative, he's off the charts, the way Democrats view him.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has targeted Santorum (from Pennsylvania) for defeat, and it is using his new book, "It Takes a Family," against him.

"You already know about the whacked-out, nut-case, out-of-the-mainstream right-wing views Rick Santorum spouts in his new book," former Clinton presidential adviser Paul Begala says in an email message to friends of the DSCC.

According to Begala's message, "Santorum acts, talks, writes -- and votes -- like he's the senior senator from the 13th Century, not the junior senator from Pennsylvania." Begala says Santorum can be beat in 2006 because "he's far too extreme for Pennsylvania."

But conservatives appreciate Santorum for his consistency and integrity. Conservative leader Paul Weyrich has described him as "the one person in the Senate leadership who is willing to take courageous stands."

Weyrich, noting that Santorum is a "prayerful man," admitted he "will need prayer for his prolonged, expensive and undoubtedly nasty Senate contest."
My Comments:
Only in Democratland could a book about making life in America more family-friendly -- including respecting and encouraging the "choice" that many women make to forego careers in order to stay home with their children -- be seen as a negative tool to "use against" someone.

And Paul Begala? If you ever watched the unwatchable CNN program "Crossfire", which had both Begala and James Carville as hosts, you'd know that Begala is the sort of guy who really ought to think twice before talking about someone else's "whacked-out, nut-case, out-of-the-mainstream" views. Begala actually makes Carville (aka the "Rajin' Cajun") look like the sane one.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Canadian National Public Radio Broadcasts Call for State Control of Religion, Especially Catholicism

OTTAWA, July 19, 2005 ( - Just as Senate approaches the final vote on the gay 'marriage' bill, C-38, Canada's national public radio CBC Radio has aired a commentary by a retired professor from the Royal Military College calling for state control over religion, specifically Catholicism. While parliamentarians dismissed warnings by numerous religious leaders and experts that such laws would lead to religious persecution, former professor Bob Ferguson has called for "legislation to regulate the practice of religion."

"Given the inertia of the Catholic Church, perhaps we could encourage reform by changing the environment in which all religions operate," Ferguson began his commentary in measured tones yesterday. "Couldn't we insist that human rights, employment and consumer legislation apply to them as it does other organizations? Then it would be illegal to require a particular marital status as a condition of employment or to exclude women from the priesthood. "

Ferguson continued, "Of course the Vatican wouldn't like the changes, but they would come to accept them in time as a fact of life in Canada. Indeed I suspect many clergy would welcome the external pressure."

The former professor pitched his idea as a boon to religious freedom. "We could also help the general cause of religious freedom by introducing a code of moral practice for religions," he said. "They will never achieve unity so why not try for compatibility? Can't religious leaders agree to adjust doctrine so all religions can operate within the code?"

Ferguson, would see religion regulated by provinces in the same way professions are regulated. "I am an engineer so the model I am thinking about is rather like the provincial acts regulating the practice of engineering," he said. "For example, engineers must have an engineering degree from a recognized university or pass qualification exams. They must have a number of years of practical experience and pass an ethics exam. The different branches: mechanical, electrical, civil and the like have a code of practice that applies to everyone. Why can't religious groups do the same?"

Continuing his comparison Ferguson stated, "I envisage a congress meeting to hammer out a code that would form the basis of legislation to regulate the practice of religion. Like the professional engineers' P.Eng designation, there would then be RRPs (or registered religious practitioners). To carry the analogy to its conclusion, no one could be a religious practitioner without this qualification."

Ferguson also suggests 'obvious' prohibitions on religion including preaching of 'hate'. "I won't try to propose what might be in the new code except for a few obvious things: A key item would have to be a ban on claims of exclusivity. It should be unethical for any RRP to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone. One might also expect prohibition of ritual circumcisions, bans on preaching hate or violence, the regulation of faith healers, protocols for missionary work, etc.," says Ferguson.

The retired professor concluded his comments aired on CBC yesterday morning saying, "Now what is the point of proposing this? I do it because I am worried that the separation between church and state is under threat. Religion is important in our lives, but it can become a danger to society when people claim that the unalterable will of God is the basis for their opinions and actions. Yes religion can be a comfort and a guide, but we cannot take rules from our holy books and apply them to the modern world without democratic debate and due regard for the law."

Listen to an audio recording of the commentary:
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Sounds like Canadian NPR isn't much different than NPR in the U.S. Only, instead of "National Palestinian Radio", NPR in Canada stands for "No Popery Radio".

Catholic League: "Durbin's Dirty War on Roberts"

Yesterday, the Catholic League issued the following press release regarding the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court:
July 27, 2005


Today, Catholic League president William Donohue criticized Senator Dick Durbin’s attack on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts:

“After Senator John Cornyn laid to rest on Monday any concerns that Judge Roberts would allow his religious views to affect his rulings on the bench, we thought this matter was closed. We were wrong: Senator Durbin told a CNN correspondent yesterday that he ‘needs to look at everything, including the nominee’s faith….’ Now match this up with what Durbin has said previously:

· Speaking about questions regarding the religious beliefs of a nominee for the federal bench, Durbin said on April 15, 2005, “By the Constitution and by law, we cannot even ask that question, nor would I.”

· Yet on June 11, 2003, Durbin took umbrage at Circuit Court nominee William Pryor when Pryor merely noted the historical relationship between Christianity and the nation’s founding: “Do you not understand,” he said, that this “raises concerns of those who don’t happen to be Christian that you are asserting an agenda of your own, religious belief of your own inconsistent with separation of church and state?”

· After taking flack for his remark, Durbin said on July 23, 2003 that members of the Senate Judiciary Committee ought “to expunge references to religion from this point forward.” He added, hypocritically, “This is beneath the dignity of the committee.”

· The very next day, July 24, he reversed himself, saying, “If Senator [Jeff] Sessions is suggesting that anyone who has a religious belief should never be questioned about it, even if it has political implications, I just think [that] is wrong-headed.”

· On July 31, he reversed himself again, this time having the audacity to co-sponsor a resolution saying, “It shall not be in order to ask any question of the nominee relating to the religious affiliation of the nominee.”

“Durbin’s duplicity is mind-boggling. But of greater concern is his determination to force Roberts to submit to a religious test.”

Michael Medved: Values Are Behind Liberal Hollywood's Box Office Blues

From Jewish World Review:
The standard entertainment industry reaction to Hollywood's box office slump reveals the same shallow, materialistic mindset that helped create the problem in the first place. The left-leaning thinking that dominates the movie business follows a common liberal instinct to deny the spiritual dimension to every problem, thereby profoundly compounding the difficulties.

USA TODAY ran a headline, "Where have all the moviegoers gone?" under which insiders discussed their desperate attempts to rebuild the shattered audience: "The lures include providing high-tech eye candy through 3-D digital projection and IMAX versions of movies. ... Stadium seating, which improves views, is just now becoming standard. Other theaters are opting for screenings that serve alcohol to patrons 21 and older."

Revealingly, none of the studio honchos talked about reconnecting with the public by adjusting the values conveyed by feature films, and replacing the industry's shrill liberal posturing with a more balanced ideological perspective.

My Comments:
Hollywood and the entertainment moguls just don't get it. My wife and I haven't been to the movies in years, apart from going to see "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. We'll probably go to see "The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe" when it comes out, so long as the reviews confirm that Disney didn't bollux it up.

In short, we're not paying upwards of $10 a piece to have our values insulted.

And I can't tell you how much it grates on me to be watching a program on the History Channel and see one of those public service announcements with some Hollywood leftist who regularly attacks my children with the filth he or she purveys asking me if I know what my kid did in school today. The day I need the entertainment industry to give me tips and pointers on how to raise my children is the day I hang it up as a father.

New York Times: Schumer Back in the Spotlight on Judicial Nominee

From the New York Times:
Senator Charles E. Schumer is emerging as the Democratic point man in the battle over how much Judge John G. Roberts should have to disclose at his Senate confirmation hearings.

The last time... Schumer tried prying answers out of John G. Roberts about his legal views was in 2003, when the Judiciary Committee held hearings.... Schumer did not get far....

"All I need is enough answers to get a real feel for what kind of judge he would be."

But Senate Republicans, along with conservative activists, say that the questions Mr. Schumer has compiled and handed to the judge are out of line. They argue that Judge Roberts should not be required to answer any questions that are intended to gauge how he might ultimately rule on certain cases.

"In every confirmation hearing, nominees have declined to answer questions virtually identical to those like Senator Schumer's," said Senator John Cornyn.... "The reason they have done so, I think, is because many of the issues and cases he wants to ask about are likely to come before the court."

While Mr. Schumer's role may have little political downside in heavily Democratic New York, his role in the confirmation battle has made him a prime target of conservatives, who have waged the kind of blistering attacks on him that they had long reserved for liberal icons like Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Newspaper columns, talk radio and Internet sites are filled with denunciations of Mr. Schumer - who is also orchestrating Democratic efforts to take back control of the Senate in 2006 and, as a result, would benefit if the party's base became fired up over the looming judicial fight....

[Full story]

Kennedy Flip-Flops on Quizzing High Court Nominees

It seems Teddy "the Swimmer" is at it again:
( - Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts "will be expected to answer fully" any questions about his views on controversial issues that could come before the court in the future, according to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). But, during the 1967 confirmation debate over future Justice Thurgood Marshall, Kennedy argued that Supreme Court nominees should "defer any comments" on such matters.

In his June 20, floor speech responding to President Bush's nomination of Roberts to the Supreme Court, Kennedy argued that senators "must not fail in our duty to the American people to responsibly examine Judge Roberts' legal views."

During the 1967 confirmation debate over the nomination of then-Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, however, Kennedy held a different view about the types of questions the nominee should be required to answer. Film footage obtained by Cybercast News Service shows Kennedy's response to the prospect of senators asking Marshall questions about how he might rule in future cases.

"We have to respect that any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters, which are either before the court or very likely to be before the court," Kennedy said during a 1967 press conference. "This has been a procedure which has been followed in the past and is one which I think is based upon sound legal precedent."

Marshall was serving President Lyndon Johnson as solicitor general when he was nominated in the summer of 1967. Prior to that, he had been an attorney for the NAACP, and had successfully argued the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that racially integrated the nation's public schools. Marshall's nomination was opposed by Southern Democrats who feared his confirmation would further the cause of racial equality in the United States, but he was confirmed by a vote of 69 to 11 on Aug. 30, 1967.

(emphasis added)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pope Says Churches In West Look To Be Dying

From Reuters:
Mainstream churches in the West appear to be dying as societies that are increasingly secular see less need for God, Pope Benedict said in comments published on Wednesday.

His outlook was even glummer than that of his predecessor John Paul, who lamented the decline of faith in the developed world and said it explained the Catholic Church's struggle with falling attendance in the West in recent years.

Benedict said many developing countries were, by contrast, enjoying a "a springtime for faith."

"It is different in the Western world, a world which is tired of its own culture, a world which is at the point where there's no longer evidence for a need of God, even less of Christ," he told a meeting of clergy in the Italian Alps where he is on holiday.

"The so-called traditional churches look like they are dying," he said, according to a text published by Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano.

Participation at Sunday Mass in some developed countries was as low as 5 percent, a recent Vatican report said.

A combination of an increasingly secular mentality and the lure of more simplistic sects was challenging the relevance of the Church, especially in Europe, Australia and, to a lesser extent, the United States, the 78-year-old Pope said.

"The Catholic Church is not doing as badly as the big Protestant Churches but naturally it shares the problem of this moment in history."

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
"Mainstream churches" appear to be dying. Well, then, they aren't really "mainstream", are they? Just like the dying "mainstream media" isn't really "mainstream".

In America, the real "mainstream" churches - the ones that lots of people actually go to - tend to be more evangelical, more Christ-centered, and less concerned with leftist political action.

And I would venture a guess that the more "orthodox" a Catholic parish/diocese is, the less likely it is to be "dying".

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: High Court Not Bound by Roe V. Wade

An AP story today cites U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as acknowledging that the Supreme Court is not "bound" by the decision in Roe v. Wade:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Talking about the landmark court decision legalizing abortion, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said a Supreme Court justice does not have to follow a previous ruling "if you believe it's wrong."

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Gonzales said the legal right to abortion is settled for lower courts but not the Supreme Court, suggesting high-court nominee John Roberts would not be bound by his past statement that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision settled the issue.

Gonzales said circumstances had changed since Roberts commented on Roe v. Wade during his 2003 confirmation hearing for the seat he now holds on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"If you're asking a circuit court judge, like Judge Roberts was asked, yes, it is settled law because you're bound by the precedent," Gonzales said.

"If you're a Supreme Court justice, that's a different question because a Supreme Court justice is not obliged to follow precedent if you believe it's wrong," Gonzales said.

[Full story]

Durbin Was Source For Turley Column About Roberts

From the Washington Times:
Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin acknowledged yesterday that he was the source for a newspaper column that reported earlier this week that Judge John G. Roberts Jr. said he could not rule in a Supreme Court case where U.S. law might conflict with Catholic teaching.

But the Illinois Democrat maintains that the column by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley incorrectly captured the private conversation that the senator had with Judge Roberts in his Capitol office Friday.

When the column appeared Monday, Mr. Durbin's office clarified that "Judge Roberts said repeatedly that he would follow the rule of law."

Spokesman Joe Shoemaker also said he did not know who Mr. Turley's source was, although only a handful of people were in the room at the time.

"Whoever the source was either got it wrong or Jonathan Turley got it wrong," Mr. Shoemaker said Monday.

Yesterday, Mr. Shoemaker said the source was Mr. Durbin.

Mr. Turley said that after he wrote the Judge Roberts column, he read back portions of it to Mr. Shoemaker, whom, he said, verified the account. Mr. Shoemaker declined to comment further.

Conservatives accused Mr. Durbin -- who is Catholic
[ED: they at least should have put "Catholic" in square quotes when referring to Durbin's alleged religious affiliation] -- of having a religious "litmus test" under which he would oppose any nominee to the high court who is Catholic and follows the church's teaching on abortion.

Connie Mackey, vice president of the conservative Family Research Council, wrote Mr. Durbin a letter yesterday asking him to clarify his position on the matter.

"It has been our concern over the past few years that one who is orthodox in their religion, whether it is Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or any other denomination, will be discouraged from seeking a position on the court or for that matter that a chilling effect is being placed upon anyone seeking public office who is devout," Mrs. Mackey wrote. "It is the intention of the Family Research Council to encourage legislators not to pit nominees' faith against their fitness for public office."

American Life League to Protest Today Outside D.C. Offices of Pro-Abortion Catholics on Senate Judiciary Committee

From U.S. Newswire:

News Advisory:

- American Life League to protest outside D.C. offices of pro-abortion Catholics on Senate Judiciary Committee

- Group calls for fair hearings for Supreme Court nominee

Today, Wednesday, July 27, American Life League representatives will gather outside of the Dirksen Senate building in Washington, D.C., at 12 p.m. for a prayerful protest of the pro-abortion Catholic senators who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The group will convey the strong message to these individuals that you can't be Catholic and pro-abortion. The activists will also pray for a just confirmation hearing for Judge John Roberts in which his Catholic faith will not be held against him.

"Senate Judiciary Committee members, Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Joseph Biden (D-Del.) all claim to be Catholic, yet support the killing of preborn children through abortion," said Joseph Starrs, director of American Life League's Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church. "It is ironic that these 'Catholic' senators are the very men who have already begun to, or hinted at, imposing a litmus test on Roberts because of his faith. This form of religious bigotry should not be tolerated by the American public, especially when it is spearheaded by individuals who claim to have faith in the same religious beliefs as the person they are targeting."

"American Life League calls on all people of faith to demand that the senators provide a fair process, free of religious discrimination," said Starrs. "Only then can we be sure that the rights of all persons will be protected - born and preborn."

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 28, the group will also be holding prayerful protests outside the offices of several D.C. area abortion providers and advocacy groups, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL and NOW.


WHAT: Protest of pro-abortion Catholics on Judiciary Committee

WHEN: TODAY, Wednesday, July 27, 12 p.m. EDT

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Building, Corner of 1st and Constitution (Washington, D.C.)

Catholic Priests and Evangelical Leaders Address Concerns About Religious Litmus Test for Court Nominees

Hat tip: Rick Lugari at Unam Sanctum

From U.S. Newswire:
Religious leaders are troubled by media reports that Judge Roberts was asked by Senator Richard Durbin how he would rule on issues that the Catholic Church considers immoral.

The groups will share their thoughts at a news conference on Wednesday, July 27, at 11 a.m. in front of the Russell Senate office building located on the corner of Constitution Ave. and 1st Street NE.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states, "It is extremely troubling that Judge Roberts would have to face any religious litmus test concerning his confirmation to the Supreme Court. This sadly reminds us that religious bigotry still exists in America and hearkens back to the days of political witch- hunts and racial discrimination. We would for members of the Senate Judiciary to make a public statement that any questions regarding Judge Roberts faith tradition are out of bounds."

Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, comments, "There is no religious test for office in the United States, but what some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are saying is Judge Roberts, if you want to be on the Supreme Court, you better not take your Christian faith seriously. That's a religious test and this is unconstitutional."

Father Frank Pavone, National director of Priests for Life, responds, "Anyone familiar with American history and the United States Constitution should be embarrassed by the suggestion that a nominee for the Supreme Court has to run a religious gauntlet on his way to confirmation. Religious convictions are not excess baggage or obstacles on the road to public service."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

WSJ: Nefarious Ties - Judge Roberts & the Federalist Society

From the Wall Street Journal:
The reasons to worry about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts continue to accumulate. First we learned he attended Harvard, which is always suspicious. Then the New York Times informed us that his wife, who is also a Catholic lawyer, not only worked pro bono for Feminists for Life but has in the past "attended Mass several times a week." Holy mackerel.

Then yesterday brought the Washington Post's scoop that Judge Roberts may once have been a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society. Mr. Roberts has said that he doesn't recall belonging to the lawyers' outfit. But in the best tradition of Woodward and Bernstein, Post reporters dug through the society's "secret" enrollment lists and -- there it was, in black and white, the name of John Roberts, member 1997-98. This news actually made page one.

The Post's exposé continues: "The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by conservatives who disagreed with what they saw as a leftist tilt in the nation's law schools. The group sponsors legal symposia and similar activities and serves as a network for rising conservative lawyers." That's a subversive group if there ever was one, not least because we've seen with our own eyes that representatives of the ACLU have sometimes attended these public "symposia," and without disguising their identities.

We don't know whether these news stories illustrate the desperation of liberals who can't find any real mud to throw at Judge Roberts, or whether they've been planted by the White House to make liberals look silly. Come to think of it, liberals these days don't need any White House help.

My Comments:
I'm not very happy with the decision of the White House to distance itself and Judge Roberts from the Federalist Society. It unfairly taints those of us who have a present or past affiliation/membership with an organization of 35,000 lawyers, law students, and scholars.

How many potential judicial nominees will be excluded from consideration in the future, having been deemed "too extreme" because of an affiliation with this fine organization?

UPDATE (7/27/2005)
Hat tip: Southern Appeal

In today's Wall Street Journal, Manuel Miranda - former counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist - takes the White House to task for its poor handling of Judge Roberts' involvement in the Federalist Society, and notes the deterrent effect it could have on those interested in joining the organization:

The 'Evil Cabal' Of Conservative Lawyers
The White House should have stood up for the Federalist Society.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

Three years ago Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) stood on the floor of the Senate and said: "Mr. President, I take the opportunity today to right a wrong. Over the past two years, members of the Federalist Society have been much maligned by some of my Democrat colleagues, no doubt because they see political advantage in doing so. The Federalist Society has even been presented as an 'evil cabal' of conservative lawyers. Its members have been subjected to questions that remind one of the McCarthy hearings of the early 1950s. Detractors have painted a picture which is surreal, twisted and untrue."

Here we go again.

Judge Roberts's ties with the Federalist Society are not the story. If Judge Roberts is not a member, he's not a member. But the White House should not be in the business of appearing to disassociate itself from its friends. By running to correct media reports last week that Judge Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society, the White House created an issue where none existed. It should have left it to the press or Democrats to unveil this great mystery. To add injury to insult, the move now has the appearance of having been bungled with the Washington Post's discovery of Judge Roberts's name on a Federalist Society list from 1997-98.

Why should the White House have stayed silent? Several reasons. As we should know by now, the left loves to come up with conspiracy theories; responding to them only encourages this kind of scare-mongering. Also, by responding to the reports, the White House legitimized an attack on good people who may include future judicial nominees, including the president's next Supreme Court pick.

In addition, it harms a GOP-friendly society of lawyers that depends on membership dues for support. Students and lawyers with visions of future confirmation hearings dancing in their heads may now think twice before joining the Federalist Society. (I am sending in my application and dues today and I urge others to do the same.)

But there is an even better reason for why the White House should have stayed quiet: loyalty. As today's slang goes, the president's staff should "represent." In appearing to put sunlight between Judge Roberts and the Federalist Society, the White House staff did not represent the man for whom they work. Rudy Giuliani writes about loyalty in his book "Leadership." He calls it a leader's "vital virtue."


Skirmish Over a Query About Roberts's Faith

Hat tip:

From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON, July 25 - Congressional Republicans warned Democrats on Monday not to make Judge John G. Roberts's Roman Catholic faith an issue in his confirmation hearings for a seat on the Supreme Court, reviving a politically potent theme from previous battles over judicial appointees.

The subject came up after reports about a meeting on Friday at which Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, is said to have asked Judge Roberts whether he had thought about potential conflicts between the imperatives of their shared Catholic faith and of the civil law. The discussion was described by two officials who spoke anonymously because the meeting was confidential and by a Republican senator who was briefed on their conversation.

Judge Roberts responded that his personal views would not color his judicial thinking, all three said, just as he has testified in the past.

An opinion-page article in The Los Angeles Times on Monday by Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, included an account of Mr. Durbin's question. Professor Turley cited unnamed sources saying that Judge Roberts had told Mr. Durbin he would recuse himself from cases involving abortion, the death penalty or other subjects where Catholic teaching and civil law can clash.

A spokesman for Mr. Durbin, a spokesman for the White House, and Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, who spoke to Judge Roberts on Monday about the meeting, all said Professor Turley's account of a recusal statement was inaccurate.

[Full story]
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
I doubt very seriously that "Judge Roberts had told Mr. Durbin he would recuse himself from cases involving abortion, the death penalty or other subjects where Catholic teaching and civil law can clash". If Roberts did say that, then Jonathan Turley's initial assessment was correct: WRONG ANSWER! Wouldn't the lefties just love for Judge Roberts to recuse himself from cases involving their pet issue?

But again, I think it nigh impossible for Judge Roberts to have made the statement attributed to him by this New York Times story. It should be noted that the Turley opinion piece made no such claim regarding a promise by Roberts to recuse himself in abortion and death penalty cases.

Fidelis: Assault on John Roberts’ Faith and Family Begins issued the following press release yesterday concerning the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court:
July 25, 2005

Assault on John Roberts’ Faith and Family Begins
Fidelis Cites Developing Pattern of Anti-Religious Bigotry

WASHINGTON — Citing recurring instances of hostility toward Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts, Fidelis, a national Catholic-based advocacy organization, said it appears a full-scale assault on Roberts’ faith and family is now underway. Fidelis pointed to a developing pattern of attack by liberal groups and certain members of the U.S. Senate and media.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella commented: “We warned the public that anti-religious bigotry would enter the confirmation process just as it did in the past. Less than twenty four hours after Judge Roberts’ nomination, we began seeing these mean-spirited attacks surface.”

The statement comes two weeks after Fidelis unveiled newspaper and radio ads accusing DNC Chairman Howard Dean and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of anti-religious bigotry. The ads highlighted anti- religious remarks made by both Dean and Reid and called upon both leaders to prevent such bigotry from entering the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Fidelis is readying the next phase of their media and grassroots campaign.

“Senators Schumer, Durbin and Bayh once again have dragged hate politics into the confirmation process. Their anti-Catholic bigotry is carefully cloaked by questioning Judge Roberts’ ‘personal views’ and hypothetical questions involving his religious faith which he holds dearly. Roberts’ religious faith and how he lives that faith as an individual has no bearing and no place in the confirmation process,” Cella said.

Fidelis cited quotes from National Public Radio, People for the American Way, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, CNN and the Center for American Progress as instances where the Roman Catholic faith of the Roberts family, including Jane Roberts’ professional and charitable activities was called into question. Cella stated: “These smears insulted all Catholics when Barbara Walters and other talking heads asked bigoted and irrelevant questions about Judge Roberts’ Roman Catholic faith.”

“Judge Roberts is eminently qualified to serve on the United States Supreme Court, and deserves a fair hearing free of any unconstitutional exploitation of his personal religious beliefs. Senators Schumer and Durbin have already signaled that they intend to abuse their positions on the Judiciary Committee and scrutinize Roberts’ personal beliefs, and now Senator Bayh has joined their ranks,” Cella concluded.

To learn more, log onto

Fidelis is a Catholic-based organization working with people of faith across the country to defend and promote the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the right to religious liberty by electing pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious liberty candidates, supporting the confirmation of judges, and promoting and defending laws faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

“He has been arguing cases as an able lawyer for others, leaving many of his personal views unknown.”
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
CNN American Morning

“And he is Roman Catholic, and that might affect the way he views an issue like abortion, for instance.”
Lynn Neary
National Public Radio

"John Roberts is a Roman Catholic. How important to him is his religion? Do you think it might affect him as a Supreme Court Justice?"
Barbara Walters
ABC Good Morning America

“He’s, by all accounts, a Roman Catholic who adheres to the tenets of that faith. Do you suspect that he will advocate, when the opportunity comes up, reversing some of the key aspects of Roe v Wade, which provide abortion rights in this country?”
Miles O’Brien
CNN American Morning

“A Roman Catholic like her husband, Jane Roberts has been deeply involved in the anti-abortion movement. She provides her name, money and professional advice to a small Washington organization—Feminists for Life of America—that offers counseling and educational programs. The group has filed legal briefs before the high court challenging the constitutionality of abortion.”
Richard Serrano
Los Angeles Times

"It's unclear how all this (Jane Roberts’ role with Feminists for Life) will affect her husband.”
Jennifer Palmieri
Center for American Progress

Two years later, the “Religious McCarthyism” campaign is back.
People for the American Way

"You wouldn't run for the United States Senate or for governor or for anything else without answering people's questions about what you believe. And I think the Supreme Court is no different."
Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)
CNN "Inside Politics" July 25, 2005

Attacking the Nominee for Dressing His Children Appropriately

Hat tip: Peter Sean Bradley at Lex Communis

I've known since I was a kid (circa early-1970s) that the Washington Post had it in for conservatives and Republicans, but I'm nevertheless shocked that the Post would stoop to publishing this:

An Image A Little Too Carefully Coordinated

By Robin Givhan
Friday, July 22, 2005; Page C02

It has been a long time since so much syrupy nostalgia has been in evidence at the White House. But Tuesday night, when President Bush announced his choice for the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, it was hard not to marvel at the 1950s-style tableau vivant that was John Roberts and his family.

There they were -- John, Jane, Josie and Jack -- standing with the president and before the entire country. The nominee was in a sober suit with the expected white shirt and red tie. His wife and children stood before the cameras, groomed and glossy in pastel hues -- like a trio of Easter eggs, a handful of Jelly Bellies, three little Necco wafers. There was tow-headed Jack -- having freed himself from the controlling grip of his mother -- enjoying a moment in the spotlight dressed in a seersucker suit with short pants and saddle shoes. His sister, Josie, was half-hidden behind her mother's skirt. Her blond pageboy glistened. And she was wearing a yellow dress with a crisp white collar, lace-trimmed anklets and black patent-leather Mary Janes.

Separate the child from the clothes, which do not acknowledge trends, popular culture or the passing of time. They are not classic; they are old-fashioned. These clothes are Old World, old money and a cut above the light-up/shoe-buying hoi polloi.

But the Roberts family went too far. In announcing John Roberts as his Supreme Court nominee, the president inextricably linked the individual -- and his family -- to the sweep of tradition. In their attire, there was nothing too informal; there was nothing immodest. There was only the feeling that, in the desire to be appropriate and respectful of history, the children had been costumed in it.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Pathetic. Is this what passes for "journalism" fit to be published in the Washington Post?

The Roberts family "went too far"? (Or, maybe "too white"?) I guess stylish, classic clothing are anathema to the midriff baring, flip-flop wearing, pierced nipple/nose/eyebrow set. I just wasn't aware that the Washington Post had a policy of hiring such people as opinion writers.

Back to how the Roberts kids were attired: this is exactly how I would have dressed my boys if my family had been going to meet the President at the White House and have him introduce me as his nominee for Justice of the Supreme Court. I guess that "excess" in dressing my children appropriately for the occasion would disqualify me from serving on the Court.

Well, that and the fact that my law school grades at the University of Virginia hewed pretty closely to the school's famous "B-Mean".

Monday, July 25, 2005

Catholic League: "Religious Litmus Test For Roberts?"

The latest press release from the Catholic League on the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court:
July 25, 2005


Catholic League president William Donohue wrote the following remarks today on the prospects of creating a religious litmus test for John Roberts:

“The Senate Judiciary Committee will not hold its hearings on President Bush’s nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court for some time, but already there are signs that he will be asked to submit to a religious litmus test. The informal discussions Roberts has had with some senators last week are cause for alarm.

“To be specific, Senator Tom Coburn complained last week that Roberts was reticent when asked to explain how his Catholic religion affects his views; the senator said he intends to ask Roberts about this again at their next meeting. Also, in today’s Los Angeles Times, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley says that he has learned that Roberts was uneasy when Senator Dick Durbin pressed him on a related matter: when asked what he would do if the law required a decision that conflicted with his religion, Roberts reportedly said he would probably have to recuse himself.

The Catholic League is angry at Coburn and Durbin for asking these questions, and at Roberts for his replies. On June 15, 1993, the Boston Globe ran a story on Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg, wherein it printed a description of Ginsburg that was offered by a Georgetown law professor friend, Wendy Williams: she said Ginsburg had a strong ‘Jewish cultural identity,’ but was ‘not devout.’

“Ginsburg was never asked to explain why her identity as a Jew was mostly cultural. Nor was she asked how her secular identity might affect her rulings on abortion and church-state issues. Indeed, it would have been outrageous had anyone attempted to pursue such a line of inquiry. Why it is not seen as equally outrageous for Coburn and Durbin to go down this road is testimony to the double standard: Ginsburg was not asked to submit to a religious litmus test and neither should Roberts.

“If Roberts doesn’t defend himself on this matter, he will only feed the sharks. Playing it too safe isn’t cute: he’d better show some gumption.”
(emphasis added)

Jonathan Turley on "The Faith of John Roberts"

Hat tip: Amy Welborn

In the LA Times:
... The exchange occurred during one of Roberts' informal discussions with senators last week. According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person's faith and public duties).

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

It was the first unscripted answer in the most carefully scripted nomination in history. It was also the wrong answer. In taking office, a justice takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. A judge's personal religious views should have no role in the interpretation of the laws. (To his credit, Roberts did not say that his faith would control in such a case)...

My Comments:
No, Mr. Turley, you're the one with the wrong answer. Judge Roberts' alleged answer to the question is exactly the right one. In recusing himself where his faith conflicts irreconcilably with his duty, Roberts would be following in the footsteps of that great public servant, St. Thomas More, who resigned his position as Chancellor of England rather than fulfill his duty which required him to swear an Oath of Supremacy that conflicted with his Catholic faith.

Robert Novak on "The Ginsburg Standard"

Robert Novak wonders if the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will be as accomodating to Judge Roberts' refusals to answer questions about legal issues that might come before him once on the Court as they were to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's refusals:

WASHINGTON -- Twelve years ago at a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sen. Patrick Leahy propounded a theoretical question about constitutional separation of church and state. "I prefer not to address a question like that," replied the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Leahy, a dogged questioner, pressed for an answer. "Senator," Ginsburg persisted, "I would prefer to await a particular case." In response, Leahy was uncharacteristically obsequious: "I understand. Just trying, Judge. Just trying."

Will Pat Leahy, now Judiciary's ranking minority member, and his Democratic colleagues exercise such forbearance when Judge John G. Roberts predictably takes the same posture Justice Ginsburg assumed in July 1993? That would be most unlikely. With Roberts leaving a meager paper trail and a short time on the District of Columbia Circuit Court, Democrats are preparing hundreds of the substantive questions Ginsburg refused to answer.

Accordingly, Roberts's confirmation managers are putting forth the "Ginsburg Standard." That challenges Democratic senators who in 1993 did not criticize the petite (barely more than 5 feet tall), 60-year-old woman when she coolly refused to answer questions. But then, there was no threatened move of the court's political balance to the right as is foreshadowed today by the Roberts nomination.

Ginsburg, who was the first high court nominee by a Democratic president in 26 years, now is described as ideologically "mainstream" [ED: Yeah, right -- and I'm a squishy moderate]. In fact, she was on the left edge as former general counsel of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). Six years earlier, conservative Judge Robert Bork was denied confirmation when hostile questioners drew him into a debate on judicial philosophy. So, it was imperative for Democrats to protect Ginsburg by gagging her.

Washington lawyer Jay T. Jorgensen has prepared a paper for the conservative Federalist Society that summarizes the Ginsburg Standard. He lists seven types of questions she would not answer: no hypotheticals; no requirement for universal legal expertise; no questions outside the nominee's case experience; no cases likely to come before the Supreme Court; nothing regarding management of the U.S. Judiciary; nothing about evolving areas of the law; no discussion of the nominee's personal feelings.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Got that, Senator Schumer?

Justice Ginsburg would allow "no discussion of the nominee's personal feelings" during her confirmation hearing. I assume that means "deeply held" or otherwise.

Democrats Discussing "What We Stand For"

Apparently, the Democratic Leadership Council, which describes itself as a centrist group, is holding a "national conversation" on what the Democrat Party stands for.

What do Democrats stand for? That's easy: abortion on demand. Just watch the Roberts confirmation hearings, and then tell me I'm wrong.

Just How Disingenuous Can Howard Dean And The Democrats Be?

Check out this from Cybercast News Service to find out:
...He [Howard Dean] also said the president was partly responsible for a recent Supreme Court decision involving eminent domain.

"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is," Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

Dean's reference to the "right-wing" court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court - Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court's liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development...

[Full Story]
My Comments:
Case in point of liberal "projection" politics. They have no new ideas, just the tired old big government retreads. They're morally bankrupt. And they've been out of power for so long that they've forgotten how to keep their nutjobs in the closet and let the "reasonable-sounding" liberals do all the talking. So what is left for them to do?

Why, just accuse conservatives of doing exactly what the left is doing. Place responsibility for liberal excesses on the same conservatives who are fighting those excesses.

But this absurd Kelo accusation made by Howard Dean takes the cake. "Chutzpah" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Cardinal Arinze's Light Touch Avoids Putting American Bishops On The Spot

Francis Cardinal Arinze and "children from First Communion" can see the light of Truth while the American Bishops, for whatever reason, seem to be stumbling around in the dark:
Cardinal Francis Arinze, a top Vatican official, lived up to his reputation for outspokenness and over-the-top humor during a weekend visit to Western Pennsylvania during which he answered a "hot potato'' question about Catholic legislators who consistently advocate the right to legal abortion.

After giving a speech on the importance of the Eucharist for family life, he took written questions on a wide range of topics at a benefit dinner at the Le Mont restaurant on Mount Washington for the Apostolate for Family Consecration in Bloomingdale, Ohio. One question concerned whether Catholic legislators who support legal abortion should "be refused" Communion.

"Should the person be given [Communion]? And I ask you, do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to find the answer?" he said to laughter and applause from an audience of 120 ardent Catholics. "Are there no children from First Communion to whom you can pose the question and receive the answer? You do not need a cardinal to answer that. Because it is a straightforward matter."

Many U.S. bishops have found it less straightforward, however...

[Full story]

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Durbin: Pro-Life Stance Would "Disqualify" Roberts reports on "Catholic" Senator Dick Durbin's pro-abortion litmus test:

The Senate's number two Democrat said Sunday that if Judge John Roberts doesn't recognize that the Constitution's right to privacy covers the Roe vs Wade abortion decision, it would "disqualify" him from serving on the Supreme Court.

Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if President Bush had "the same right" to appoint pro-life justices that President Clinton had to appoint pro-choice justices, Durbin at first insisted, "I'm not looking for a litmus test."

"As important as reproductive rights and women's rights are, I just basically want to know that if the next case involving privacy and personal freedom came up, what he believes," the Illinois Democrat claimed.

Asked, however, what he would do if Roberts "said he did not see a right to privacy in the Constitution," Durbin told MTP host Tim Russert: "I wouldn't vote for him. That would disqualify him in my mind."

Asked whether he intended to question Roberts directly about his position on Roe vs Wade, Durbin said, "I'm going to get very specific. But I've had an experience with him before. He didn't get very specific in his answers when he was up for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals."

My Comments:
"The Senate's number two Democrat" shows that he's full of "number two" every time he refers to himself as a "Catholic". You can't be both Catholic and pro-abortion, Senator.

Furthermore, NewsMax is mistaken in describing the stance that would "disqualify" Roberts in Durbin's eyes as "Pro-Life". As Will Bloomfield (citing Ed Whelan) points out on his blog, Thoughts from the Right, when one does "not see a right to privacy in the Constitution," that is a moderate position based on a strict reading of the Constitution, not a "Pro-Life" position, which would find in the Constitution a "right to life" protecting the unborn.

So, between the two extremes - Durbin's position on the one hand that finds an absolute constitutional right to abortion under all circumstances, and the pro-life position on the other hand that finds an absolute constitutional right to life for the unborn - the view that the Constitution simply does not address the issue of abortion is the middle-of-the-road position.

Chuck Schumer Seeks New Supreme Court Standard

Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee point-man Charles Schumer said Sunday that he wanted to use confirmation hearings on Judge John Roberts to establish a new standard for the kinds of questions a Supreme Court nominee must answer to be confirmed.

"I'm trying to set the predicate for future nominations," Schumer told WCBS TV in New York, "by asking and making sure that everyone agrees it's okay for us to ask a whole lot of questions and for him to answer them as a prerequisite for getting the nomination."

The New York Democrat complained that "some on the hard right" don't want nominees grilled on their views about the right to privacy, which Schumer acknowledged was the basis for Roe vs Wade.

But he insisted: "This position has such awesome, awesome . . . responsibility that, that nominee has an obligation to answer questions."

"That's the first debate and I'm pushing for answering the questions," Schumer said.
My Comments:
Schumer wants President Bush's nominees to answer questions no other Supreme Court nominee has had to answer - the last 2 Supreme Court Justices, nominated by a member of Schumer's own party, certainly didn't answer such questions. And, although he's claiming he wants a standard that would apply to all nominees going forward, it's obvious he only intends for his standard to apply to all Republican nominees going forward.

But we know what Chucky is really after: he wants a pro-Roe litmus test for all Republican nominees to the federal bench.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

And You Thought "to Bork" Was a Great Verb ...

From Bench Memos on NRO:

[Kathryn Jean Lopez 07/22 05:26 PM]

A definition from John Cornyn's office:

E·stra·di·fy (eh strä d? fĪ ), v. 1. To obstruct the confirmation of a nominee to the Federal Judiciary by making unreasonable requests for information; including but not limited to privileged documents and statements which would compromise a nominee’s ability to maintain the integrity of the position to which they have been nominated. 2. To delay and/or defeat the confirmation of a Presidential nominee by means of procedural gimmicks intended to undermine the will of a bipartisan majority of the United States Senate. [See also: Estrada, Miguel]

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Leftist Media Takes On Mrs. Roberts

Hat tip: Southern Appeal

From the Los Angeles Times:
Wife of Nominee Holds Strong Antiabortion Views

By Richard A. Serrano, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — While Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s views on abortion triggered intense debate on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, there is no mistaking where his wife stands: Jane Sullivan Roberts, a lawyer, is ardently against abortion.

A Roman Catholic like her husband, Jane Roberts has been deeply involved in the antiabortion movement. She provides her name, money and professional advice to a small Washington organization — Feminists for Life of America — that offers counseling and educational programs. The group has filed legal briefs before the high court challenging the constitutionality of abortion.

A spouse's views normally are not considered relevant in weighing someone's job suitability. But abortion is likely to figure prominently in the Senate debate over John Roberts' nomination. And with his position on the issue unclear, abortion rights supporters expressed concern Wednesday that his wife's views might suggest he also embraced efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

"It's unclear how all this will affect her husband," said Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman with the Center for American Progress, a liberal public policy group. "It's possible that he would have a different view than her. It's just that in the absence of information about this guy, people are looking at her and trying to read the tea leaves."

Asked to discuss her role with Feminists for Life, Jane Roberts said in an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times: "Thanks for your inquiry. At this time, however, I would like to decline your invitation to talk."

[Full story]
The Washington Post has a similar story today on Mrs. Roberts.

My Comments:
The radical feminists in the pro-abortion movement can't have it both ways: they can't claim on the one hand that a woman has an existence separate and apart from her husband, and then claim on the other hand that the views and activities of Mrs. Roberts must be attributed to Judge Roberts.*

They wouldn't be that hypocritical, would they? (see, e.g., Bill Clinton)

*That being said, I think there are plenty on the right who are hoping that the views and activities of Mrs. Roberts do give us some indication of how Judge Roberts will rule.

Charles Krauthammer: Roberts is no Scalia

Charles Krauthammer on Judge Roberts:

... And Roberts is no Scalia. I think. Like just about everything else we can say about him, this guess is educated only by the meager record, and by Roberts' traditional, conventional life trajectory. And perhaps even by his opening remarks on national television, where he spoke with reverence of the institution to which he has been nominated — from which one might infer (now we're really grasping at straws) — that he might be reluctant to overturn precedent.

But if he is no Scalia, is he an O'Connor — who moved so steadily leftward through her Washington career that she has become a retroactive icon, a paragon of principled conservatism, to liberal advocacy groups today?

We know that Scalia and Thomas would overturn Roe v. Wade tomorrow. As would Rehnquist, for whom Roberts clerked and to whom he is being most closely compared.

O'Connor, on the other hand, not only upheld the abortion precedent, but invented an even more radical constitutional principle to justify her decision. The notorious pronouncement that "at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life" opened the door to the Texas case ruling anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional, and Massachusetts' legalization of gay marriage on constitutional grounds.

It is almost impossible to imagine Roberts doing something as grand as that. He would not have the audacity. My guess? He upholds Roe, purely for reasons of precedent. And very quietly.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Pure conjecture, as Krauthammer readily admits. In contrast, I have heard from strong pro-life people - who, unlike Krauthammer, actually do know something about Judge Roberts - that Roberts is the real deal for conservatives.

So, is Krauthammer getting paid for guessing these days?

Michael Reagan on "The High Court and the Anti-Catholic Left"

Hat tip: Rick Lugari

Michael Reagan writes in FrontPage Magazine on the issues faced by faithful Catholic judicial nominees when they come up before the leftist heterodox Catholics (Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, and Pat Leahy) and a rabidly anti-Catholic Jew (Chuck Schumer) on the Senate Judiciary Committee:
... In recent years the national Democrat party hasn’t merely moved farther and farther Left, it’s gone farther and farther into fantasyland, with top party members uttering insanities such as those that have become the hallmarks of Howard Dean’s frenzied rhetoric. To put it bluntly, the Democrats have gone ‘round the bend.

We can expect to see example after example of that craziness on display as the party’s lunatic wing in the Senate holds forth during the questioning of Judge Roberts. Teddy Kennedy will rant and rave, the sanctimonious Charles Schumer will attempt to portray Judge Roberts as being a threat to the life and liberty of women and minorities and endangered species such as Democrat office holders facing re-election in 2006, and the oleaginous Patrick Leahy will make believe he is involved in a sober examination of the nominee he is really determined to crucify.

Listen to Schumer trying out his interrogative technique, reminding us that the last time he questioned Judge Roberts when he was up for appointment to the District of Columbia Federal Court of Appeals he wanted him to name three Supreme Court decisions with which he disagreed. Roberts declined and will do so again, giving Schumer an opportunity to declare him unfit to serve on the Supreme Court for having done what judicial discretion required him to do.

John Roberts is a Roman Catholic and as such can expect to be grilled by [Dick] Durbin and his colleagues on whether he would let his religious beliefs color his opinions on abortion. When Judge William H. Pryor was first nominated to the Court of Appeals, Durbin, who describes himself as a "practicing Catholic," said that "many Catholics who oppose abortion personally do not believe the laws of the land should prohibit abortion for all others in extreme cases involving rape, incest, and the life and health of the mother."

That statement led Denver’s Archbishop Chaput to scold Durbin for distorting most Catholic’s beliefs.

As Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out in the National Review, Pryor's opponents adopted "a viewpoint test...that has the effect of screening out all Catholics faithful to their church's teachings on abortion. The only way a Catholic can pass it is by "ceasing, on the decisive issue, to be Catholic – by breaking from his church's teaching."

Father Richard John Neuhaus put it this way: for the liberal elites, the only "good" Catholic is a bad Catholic...

Catholic League: "Roberts, Catholicism and Abortion"

More on Judge Roberts from the Catholic League:
July 21, 2005


Catholic League president William Donohue offered the following comments today on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts:

“In an AP poll just released, 52 percent of Americans said that Judge Roberts should give his position on abortion when asked by lawmakers. Whether he does or not is of little interest to the Catholic League, though it is important to recall that Ruth Bader Ginsburg positively refused to answer questions on gay rights and capital punishment, and she did so with impunity. What is of interest to us is the way some are trying to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between Judge Roberts’ Catholicity and his presumed position on abortion. Indeed, even his wife, who is avowedly pro-life, has been dragged into this debate.

“Let’s begin with the AP. In the story on the survey, it says, ‘While deputy solicitor general in 1990, Roberts, a Roman Catholic, helped write a legal brief’ that Roe v. Wade be overturned. Now there is nothing in the AP style-book that merits mentioning Roberts’ religion in this context. For example, in today’s New York Times, it several times mentions that Roberts is a Catholic, but its use is entirely descriptive and biographical: it was not cited to imply a causal relationship with his presumed position on abortion. That’s not a small difference. To the unconvinced, imagine reading, ‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Jew, helped write a legal brief’ for the ACLU upholding Roe? And keep in mind that every survey has disclosed that Jews are more uniformly in favor of abortion rights than Catholics are pro-life.

“AP is not alone. Yesterday, NPR’s Lynn Neary said of Roberts, ‘And he is a Roman Catholic, and that might affect the way he views an issue like abortion, for instance.’ American University law professor Stephen Wermiel went one better, asserting, ‘It could make a difference. It could also make a difference in church-state separation issues.’

“These are more than red flags—these are the marks of bigotry, politely expressed. And these people consider themselves to be tolerant.”

President Bush Threatens to Veto Attempt to End "Mexico City" Policy

Each year Congress tries and fails to repeal a policy that prohibits funding abortions overseas.

The White House has delivered a formal message to the Senate Appropriations Committee: the president will veto the foreign operations appropriations bill if it overturns the Mexico City policy.

Carrie Gordon Earl, senior bioethics analyst for Focus on the Family Action, applauded the president's firm stance.

"To say that our tax dollars are not going to be used overseas to be given to groups that either coerce or lobby for or do abortions, that is a bright line that has been drawn by the Bush administration and by the Reagan and Bush administrations before him," she said. "The president's not compromising and we applaud him in that."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fidelis on Roberts Nomination: “Hearings Are Ripe For Anti-Religious Bigotry”

Hat tip: Catholics in the Public Square

From the Fidelis website:
WASHINGTON — Following the nomination of Judge John Roberts of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush to serve as Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court, Fidelis warned Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Patrick Leahy, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold to keep anti-religious bigotry out of the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

“Judge Robert’s confirmation hearings are ripe for anti-religious bigotry,” said Fidelis President Joseph Cella. “Judge Roberts is a faithful Catholic, who is devoted to his wife and children. With the history of Catholic and Christian judicial nominees attacked because of their religious faith and family life in past Senate confirmation hearings, we call on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Ranking Member Senator Patrick Leahy, Senators Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold to prevent this vile brand of hate politics from entering this important process. Judge Roberts is an eminently qualified jurist, and his outstanding legal credentials and temperament should enable his confirmation prior to the Supreme Court reconvening on October 3. ”

Cella said: “We expect that Judge Roberts’ confirmation hearings must follow nothing less than the three-fold high standard of being responsible, civil and Constitutional. The statements by every Senator, Republican, Democrat or Independent about Judge Roberts will be watched. If any Senator crosses the line and attacks Judge Roberts because of his Catholic faith or family life, they will be held accountable.”

Fidelis recently completed their initial advertising campaign in the run-up to the Senate confirmation hearings. The print ads ran in Roll Call and in the Nevada Appeal, and a radio ad in Nevada, citing the role that anti-religious bigotry played in the Senate confirmation battle of Judge Bill Pryor.

The ads highlight anti-religious statements made by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Article VI of the United States Constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” which expressly prohibits such religious tests.

Cella said: “A judicial candidate’s promise to soundly interpret the Constitution is often not enough for many Senators. In order to disqualify a particular judicial candidate, some Senators have resorted to a quasi-inquisition of a candidate’s personal religious beliefs, and that cannot be tolerated. We will work with Catholics and all people of faith to defend Judge Roberts who will likely be attacked because of his faith and deeply-held beliefs,” Cella stated

To learn more and view and hear the Fidelis ads, log onto

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