Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, England

Pilgrimage to the Land Known as "Our Lady's Dowry"

O England great cause thou hast glad for to be
Compared to the land of promise Sion
To be called in every realm and region
The Holy Land, Our Lady's Dowry ...

For the next 2 weeks (September 15 through October 1), I will be on a blogging hiatus, as my family will be vacationing in England. This trip abroad, however, will be much more than a vacation. The focal point of our journey will be a pilgrimage to Little Walsingham in Norfolk, East Anglia - site of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, my family's patroness.

Historical Background

Walsingham has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times. At one time, it was ranked among the 3 most important pilgrimage sites in Europe, along with Santiago de Compostela and Rome.

The original Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham was founded in 1061 by Richeldis de Faverches, who was taken in spirit to Nazareth and asked by Our Lady to build a replica, in Norfolk, of the Holy House of the Annunciation. The Shrine of the Holy House stood for almost 500 years as a place of devotion to the Holy Virgin Mother of God and the Incarnation of Her Son, before it was destroyed by Henry VIII at the Reformation.

Many barren years passed until the Slipper Chapel, a 14th century wayside pilgrim chapel just outside the village of Little Walsingham, was restored and pilgrimage to Walsingham in honor of Our Blessed Lady began once more. Originally dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, this wayside chapel had served medieval pilgrims on their way to England's Nazareth. Just as on Mount Sinai Moses took off his shoes because he was on holy ground, so pilgrims used to remove their shoes at the Slipper Chapel (hence, its name) and walk the Holy Mile into Walsingham barefoot.

In 1934, the English Bishops named the Slipper Chapel the Roman Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady. The Slipper Chapel's first Mass since the Reformation was celebrated there on August 15, 1934, and on September 8, 1938, the Shrine was re-consecrated by the local Bishop. The most important image in the Chapel is the Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Pilgrimage Theme: Mary, Mother of the Eucharist

We will be visiting the Shrine on Saturday, September 24, which is the Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham. The shrine's website describes the pilgrimage theme in this Year of the Eucharist as follows:

Our pilgrimage theme for 2005 is “At the school of Mary; woman of the Eucharist”. The Pope’s words in his homily for the Mass to open the Year of the Eucharist told us what is required. “In this Year of the Eucharist, the Christian community is invited to become more aware of the mystery through a more deeply felt celebration, prolonged and fervent adoration and a greater commitment to brotherhood and the service of the least. In the footsteps of Mary, “woman of the Eucharist” the Christian community lives this mystery! Strengthened by the “bread of eternal life”, it becomes a presence of light and life, a leaven of evangelisation and solidarity.
Your Prayers Are Requested

I will begin praying the Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Walsingham on September 16, continuing through the 9 days leading up to Our Lady's feast day on September 24. I request that you please join my family in praying to Our Blessed Lady, to St. George, to St. Thomas More, to St. Thomas Becket and to all the English saints and martyrs that we will enjoy a safe journey and receive a spiritual blessing on our pilgrimage to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary.

God bless!
NOTE: It is my hope and my intention that I will be able to blog sporadically while in England, so that I may update you on the progress of our pilgrimage - so please check in over the next 2 weeks to see if I've added anything. There is a very good chance, however, that blogging will be impossible due to logistical considerations. If that is the case, I hope you will return to read this blog at the beginning of October, at which time I hope to blog in considerable detail about our pilgrimage experiences. In the meantime, please check out the many excellent blogs and websites that I have linked to on the right-hand side of the page.

UPDATE: Recta Ratio has a nice post on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Walsingham.

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Happy Anniversary, Sarah

My wife, Sarah, and I were married 4 years ago today - just 4 days after the horrific events of September 11. That week was, literally, the best of times and the worst of times.

Our honeymoon - we being lucky enough to still catch a flight out of the country, albeit a day later than originally scheduled - was in Scotland. And now today, 4 years later, we are departing once again for the British Isles - this time to England. This trip, however, is not going to be as enjoyable as the honeymoon, what with 2 toddlers in tow.

Nevertheless, those 2 children (and the 1 on the way) are what our life together is all about. So I want to take this opportunity to wish a happy anniversary to my Sarah - the love of my life.

Biden To Roberts: "You're The Best"

According to Drudge:

Exclusive Drudge sources in the U.S. Senate's Hart Building heard Democrat Sen. Joe Biden say to Judge John G. Roberts in a private conversation on the hearing room floor: "You're the best I've ever seen before the committee"...

My Comments:
Well isn't that special?

If Joe "Hey, boss" Biden thinks you're just peachy, I'm not sure what to think. Probably the same thing I thought when I opened up the pages of our Diocesan newspaper only to be confronted with a photo of "Plugs" hamming it up in Rome with Monsignor So-and-So who was representing the Richmond Diocese at the funeral of JPII.

Speaking of "plugs", PLEASE go read The Anchoress' account of an email she received today from her "Irish Auntie".

Federal Judge Rules Pledge of Allegiance Unconstitutional

From Fox News:
SAN FRANCISCO — Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge who granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist who lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."
My Comments:
This is the kind of judge the left would love to see on the Supreme Court - the kind of judge who believes the Constitution bans any reference to God whatsoever from the public square. The Founding Fathers who actually wrote the 1st Amendment obviously didn't believe in such nonsense as what Father Neuhaus refers to as the "naked public square".

But such are the results - just like the federal court decision today - when you insist upon having a "living Constitution".

NRO: Still Time for Republicans to Seize the Hearing Moment

From Hadley Arkes writing for National Review Online:
The Democrats, at his nomination hearing, have evidently decided to register their aversion to John Roberts, and sound their favorite themes, but to save their explosions, properly staged, for the next appointment. For that is the appointment that will replace the "swing vote" on the Court, and all of the tension will now be transferred to those hearings yet to come. But to say that the Democrats are muting themselves is simply to say that they are modulating their nastiness. Dianne Feinstein affects a reasonable style — and then, without strain she attributes to the Nazis a religious passion and connects them then with other people, among us, animated by religious conviction. She likens Nazis in Germany to serious Christians in America — and from the Republicans comes no word of reproach. Once again, the party has taken the strategy of going into the clinch: Offer praise to the nominee, insist that we respect the intellect of Roberts, and confirm him without political sniping. But nothing is done to expose the emptiness of the arguments offered by most of the Democrats — and lay the groundwork then for a Republican counterattack.

My Comments:
I have a confession to make (since I went to Confession earlier today and therefore am in confessing mode).

At this point, I have become so disenchanted with the way this whole confirmation process has been handled by (1) the President (who should have left Roberts in the O'Connor slot and nominated a known conservative to replace Rehnquist), (2) the Judiciary Committee Republicans (who have failed to mount a vigorous defense of strict constructionist and/or originalist jurisprudence, not to mention who voted to make Arlen Specter Chairman of the damn Committee), and (3) the nominee (who doesn't give the kind of answers William Pryor gave), that I really don't care anymore whether John Roberts is confirmed as Chief Justice or not.

He will be, but that doesn't mean I have to care one way or the other.

Catholic League: Senators' Questions Regarding Roberts' Religion Were "Disgraceful"

Today, the Catholic League issued the following press release regarding the questioning John Roberts has received from some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about his religious beliefs:
September 14, 2005


Catholic League president William Donohue commented today on questions that were asked yesterday about John Roberts’ religion:

“Senator Arlen Specter and Senator Dianne Feinstein both asked John Roberts yesterday whether he agreed with the comment made by President John F. Kennedy in 1960 regarding matters of church and state. Neither one of them even hinted at the fact that Kennedy was forced to make his infamous Houston speech just to ward off the anti-Catholic bigots who were trying to destroy him. Indeed, by taking us down this dirty road again, Specter and Feinstein have brought us right back to where JFK started.

“In response, Roberts agreed that his religion would not dictate his decisions as a judge, but professed not to understand what Feinstein meant by ‘absolute separation of church and state’; he then briefly cited the two cases on the Ten Commandments that the Supreme Court decided, with different outcomes, in the high court’s last session.

“Roberts handled himself well, but the shame of it is that he had to answer these questions at all. What did Specter and Feinstein expect him to say—that he takes his marching orders from the Vatican? Too bad one of the senators on the Judiciary Committee didn’t interrupt Specter by asking him why he didn’t press Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to discuss the relationship between their Jewish heritage and their jurisprudential philosophy. And too bad Feinstein wasn’t asked whether she believes that having ‘In God We Trust’ on our coins violates her absolutist understanding of the First Amendment.

“For the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to probe Roberts on his religion is a disgrace. And for Feinstein to do so, coming on the heels of her anti-Catholic remark the day before blaming the Catholic Church for the death of Jews in Budapest during the Holocaust, shows a boldness that is beyond belief.”

Fidelis Levels Criticism Over Religion Question

WASHINGTON - In separate letters to Senators Arlen Specter and Diane Feinstein, Fidelis leveled criticism over the repeated questioning of Judge Roberts' Catholic faith. The letters address Chairman Specter's early question about Roberts' "personal views" which set the stage for Senator Feinstein to unnecessarily revisit the sensitive topic later in the hearing.

The letters ask for a more respectful tone during the second day of questioning and request that Senator Feinstein refrain from such further questioning and apologize for her intolerant and offensive words.

In their letter sent early Wednesday to Senator Arlen Specter, Fidelis expressed concern that Specter's question opened the door for further inquiry about Roberts' faith. Fidelis called on him to apologize and appealed to him to preserve the integrity of the process and not allow unnecessary questioning of his religion to continue.

The Feinstein letter expressed Fidelis' deep concern over describing the teachings of the Catholic Church as "dictates," revisiting the topic of then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy who was repeatedly dogged by questions concerning the perceived conflict between his Catholic faith and his role as a public servant.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella commented, "Of the two Senators' remarks, Senator Feinstein's were the most disturbing because she referred to the Catholic faith as 'dictates.' It shows her callous insensitivity and ignorance of the teachings of the Catholic faith." ...
Click here for the full story, as well as the full text of the letters sent to Senators Specter and Feinstein.

Teddy Comes Clean

Another great political cartoon from Zach Brissett at In Toon With The World. If you haven't checked out Zach's blog yet, please do so. I could easily post something of his everyday, as his cartoons are always insightful.

And since we're on the subject of Teddy Kennedy, here's the obligatory* "Swimmer" pic:

* I recently instituted "The Swimmer Rule", whereby any mention of Teddy Kennedy requires that I post or at least link to this lovely photograph of Teddy enjoying an outing at the seaside. Or has he washed up on shore? Somebody call the Coast Guard - we have a beached whale!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

High-Water Mark

Does everyone understand the significance of the fact that John Roberts - despite President Bush's having received a record number of votes on his way to reelection, despite the Republicans having a 10-seat majority in the Senate, and despite Roberts' replacing a conservative justice (thus not shifting the ideological balance of the Court) - is nevertheless kowtowing to the confirmation groundrules laid by the Democrats and their death-cultist allies?

If not, let me break it down for you. It doesn't get any easier than this. Given the facts I listed above, by all rights this should be a slam-dunk confirmation. Yet the Republicans feel the need to put forward a stealth candidate who, in turn, feels the need to reaffirm the status of Griswold and Roe and Casey as "settled precedent" under questioning from liberal Senators.

Folks, this is the high-water mark. If (1) a reelected President, (2) a 10-seat majority, and (3) the fact that the ideological balance of the Court isn't being shifted still bring about such mealy-mouthed cowardice from a Republican President, a Republican nominee, and the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, there truly is no hope for shifting the Court significantly rightward.

I hope and pray that John Roberts and whoever is nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor prove me wrong, but given the political advantages the Republicans seem to be wasting with this nomination process, it's a damn shame that it even comes to that.

Roberts: Roe V. Wade "Entitled to Respect"

From the Associated Press (via

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts said Tuesday that the landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion was "settled as a precedent." He declined to answer specific questions about abortion and voting rights, citing cases he could face on the high court.
My Comments:
I posted this over at Mark Shea's blog, but I thought it appropriate to post again here my comments regarding Roberts' remarks on stare decisis.

Let me go on record. Should John Roberts ever vote to uphold Roe and Casey on the basis of stare freakin' decisis, there is a much stronger argument for denying him Communion than there is for denying Communion to a pro-abort politician like John Kerry. In fact, he should be denied Communion should he ever vote to uphold such an abomination.

As a Supreme Court Justice, Roberts would have the power to right the wrong that was perpetrated by the Court in Roe, just as the Brown Court corrected the miscarriage of justice wrought by Plessy v. Ferguson. To forego that opportunity on the basis of a mere prudential rule of construction like stare decisis would be unpardonable.

Furthermore, stare decisis seems to only work with a ratchet effect - in other words, it works only in one direction.

It protects the precedents that the left wants to protect, but is thrown out the door anytime the left (via the courts) wants to rely on foreign law to foist upon us things like sodomy and homo-simulated-marriage and any other left-wing insanity that hasn't a chance of winning the support of the majority of the people.

Center for Economic and Social Justice

Earlier today I received an e-mail linking to the website for the Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ"), which may be of interest to you.

The CESJ "promotes a free enterprise approach to global economic justice through expanded capital ownership." It is a "non-profit, non-partisan, ecumenical, all-volunteer organization with an educational and research mission."

The major thrust I got from the website is the CESJ's promotion of what it calls "the Just Third Way."

Go check it out. It makes for a fairly interesting read. I've also added a link to the CESJ's website on the right-hand side of this blog.

Fidelis Warns Senators on Questioning of Roberts on Religion

Yesterday, Senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid received a letter co-signed by Jeff Ballabon of the Center for Jewish Values and Brian Burch of to re-emphasize that questioning John Roberts about his religion in the confirmation hearings is off limits:
By now it seems abundantly clear that Judge Roberts has a distinguished background as one of the nation's finest legal minds, a superb litigator, and a judge who is faithful to the Constitution. Should he be confirmed, he is equipped with the background, character and temperament, in ample measure, necessary to discharge the duties as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, it seems that questions about Judge Roberts’ Catholic faith will be raised by certain outside groups and some in the U.S. Senate.

As you remember, in 2003, Judge Bill Pryor, also a Catholic, was subjected to questions about his deeply held personal beliefs by members of the United States Senate, acting in their official capacities and on national television. Both of us saw what went on at that hearing and each of us, Catholic and Jew alike, felt personally offended. Similar offense to core American values occurred during the nomination of former Attorney General John Ashcroft. This is an ugly trend and it must be stopped.

We are from different organizations and different religions, but we do share the common denominator of being Americans who treasure their faith and our country's First Amendment guarantees.

We firmly agree that Judge Roberts’ Catholic beliefs have nothing to do with his ability to serve his country and the law. Further, we believe that the very suggestion is offensive to the Constitution. We appeal to you, as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to do everything in your power to ensure that an official hearing in the pursuit of a Constitutionally mandated Senatorial function not be used again as a platform to treat Americans of faith with indignity, questioning their worthiness for public service and their loyalties.

[Read the letter in full]

Religious Tests - Where Some Dems Want To Go, But Shouldn't

From National Review Online:
Religious Tests
Where some Dems want to go, but shouldn’t.

By Stephen B. Presser & Charles E. Rice

In recent memory there have rarely been nominees to the Supreme Court with credentials as distinguished as John Roberts.

There are rumblings, though, that Roberts's religion — he's Catholic — could be raised against him, and there are dark intimations coming from some quarters of the Senate and some liberal advocacy groups that a practicing Catholic who takes church teachings seriously cannot be trusted to assume a position on the Court.

The idea seems to be that since the Church is firmly opposed to abortion, the death penalty, and homosexual marriage, Roberts could not, consistently with his deeply-held religious beliefs, even-handedly administer justice in these areas.

Perhaps it is a mark of the desperation of Roberts's opponents that his religion is now being raised against him, but those of us who believe in the Constitution and in the objective interpretation of that document need to cut off the head of this argument and drive a stake through its heart before it does further damage.

My Comments
This is one area where I think the Right, as well as Catholic groups like The Catholic League and Fidelis, have done an effective job. Now that the issue of religious bigotry has been brought to light through efforts like "Justice Sunday", the Dems seem a little snakebit right now about invoking the Schumer Doctrine.

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A War We Will All Fight

From The Irish Rover:
... Sadly, Chief Justice Rehnquist must be replaced. By elevating Judge John Roberts to replace Rehnquist, President Bush appears to have filled that void remarkably well. But now Sandra Day O’Connor’s vacant spot, once again, needs filled. For President Bush, the decision should be easy. He must nominate another Rehnquist, a judge who will apply the Constitution, and most important, promise to vote to overturn that reprehensible decision with no basis whatsoever in the Constitution – Roe.

Nominating a moderate (a pro-choicer), such as Alberto Gonzalez, would be, as Weekly Standard editor William Kristol puts it, “a disaster.” The backlash from the President’s base would be a potentially fatal blow to his party, and the decision would be perhaps the decisive blow to the unborn.

Moreover, Justice Antonin Scalia scoffs at the incoherence of such a proposition. “Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text?” Scalia asks. “Halfway between what it says and what we’d like it to say?”

With 55 Republicans in the Senate, there is no need to shy away from a fight. It’s the fight we’ve all been waiting for. Well, not quite. Even if Roberts and another conservative are confirmed, the court will still be entrenched 5-4 affirming Roe.

(emphasis added)

A Day of Firsts, Overshadowed

From Dana Milbank in the Washington Post:
Yesterday's opening of the John Roberts confirmation hearings was a time for historic firsts.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) made 49 first-person references in a 10-minute statement that was, ostensibly, not about himself...

My Comments
Schumer is an idiot. If it weren't for the past willingness of the Democrat Senators on the Judiciary Committee to give credence to the dangerous "Schumer Doctrine" (the notion that persons of deeply held religious faith are disqualified from serving on the federal judiciary), he'd be a joke.

Roberts Sidesteps Landmark Abortion Ruling

From the Associated Press (via

Supreme Court nominee John Roberts on Tuesday declined to discuss his views on the landmark 1973 ruling on abortion but said the concept of legal precedent is a "very important consideration."

[Full story]
My Comments
"...the concept of legal precedent is a very important consideration", huh? Try telling that to Justice Kennedy and the gang who recently overturned the "established" precedent of Bowers v. Hardwick on the basis of foreign law.

Monday, September 12, 2005


For my last post of the day, I want to express my sincere condolences to the Torres family on the death of baby Susan over the weekend. You are all in the thoughts and prayers of the Anderson family.

Bob Novak: Replacing O'Connor Could Get Ugly

Bob Novak speculates on President Bush's possible nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor:
With Senate confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice virtually assured, the struggle for the Supreme Court returns to replacing retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The belief in legal and political circles is that President Bush will name a conservative woman, and the front-runner is federal Appellate Judge Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit, Austin, Texas).

According to White House sources, Bush met secretly with Owen last week. While not decisive evidence, this was no mere get-acquainted session beginning a long exploration. He knows and admires his fellow Texas Republican. The countervailing political pressure on Bush is to name a Hispanic American, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is a Texas Republican the president knows and likes even better than he does Owen. But signals last week he might name Gonzales probably should not be taken seriously.

Owen is viewed as the strongest choice and, at age 50, able to guarantee a conservative court for 20 years. She was a petroleum industry lawyer in 1994 when Republicans tapped her to run for the Texas Supreme Court. She and Bush, candidate for Texas governor, sometimes campaigned together, with Karl Rove their mutual consultant. Owen was considered non-controversial when Bush selected her for the appeals court in 2001, but a wide-ranging Democratic filibuster delayed her confirmation for four years.

If Owen is nominated a month from now, she will have had little more than four months on the federal appellate bench. But that is twice as much appellate time as Justice David Souter had before going on the Supreme Court. Approved only 55 to 43 for the 5th Circuit, Owen would face bitter opposition for the higher court. But so would any of the other conservative women acceptable to Bush.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, relentlessly leading the Democratic campaign, last week tied John Roberts' ''advice'' as a young aide to disparities between rich and poor that he said were revealed by Hurricane Katrina. If Kennedy goes that far on a nominee whose confirmation is not really in doubt, imagine what he might say about Priscilla Owen.

National Right To Life Takes On Illinois Senator Dick Dirtbag

From the National Right to Life web site:

National Right to Life radio ad raises question:
How can Senator Durbin -- who as a congressman wanted Roe v. Wade overturned -- now "disqualify" John Roberts?

This release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) is issued at 8:30 AM EDT on Monday, September 12, 2005. For further information, contact NRLC at 202-626-8825 or 202-626-8820, send e-mail to, or visit the NRLC website at

WASHINGTON (Sept. 12, 2005) -- A new broadcast ad sponsored by National Right to Life, launched today in eight cities in Illinois (13 radio stations), suggests that Senator Dick Durbin [ED: a.k.a. "Dick Dirtbag"] of Illinois, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is being unfair in suggesting that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts might be disqualified if Roberts does not accept the legal theory of Roe v. Wade -- even though Durbin himself strongly advocated overturning Roe v. Wade when he was a member of the House of Representatives.

The ad presents a dialogue between two fictional constituents, one of whom notes that Durbin has indicated that he may regard Roberts as disqualified from sitting on the Supreme Court if he will not endorse certain past Supreme Court decisions.

(In a
July 24 interview with NBC News' Tim Russert, Durbin said that Roberts would be "disqualified" if he did not accept the Supreme Court's doctrine on the "right of privacy," and that "it would trouble me greatly" if he thought Roberts might allow state legislatures to restrict abortion.)

... Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee,
wrote a letter about abortion in 1971 in which he said, "... it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized -- the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old ... once life has begun, no matter at what stage of growth, it is my belief that termination should not be decided merely by desire... When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough ... to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception."

Moreover, Senator Joseph Biden (D-De.), the third-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee,
voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade (the Hatch Amendment) in 1982.


Catholic Conservatives' New Advocates has been profiled in National Journal.
... The three-man operation has emerged as an aggressive national voice warning against anti-Catholic bigotry in Roberts's confirmation hearings.

Yet Fidelis has even bigger ambitions. Having established a federal political action committee, a 527 advocacy organization, a nonprofit legal center, and a content-rich Web site, Fidelis aims to be a player in the broader political arena -- one with a decidedly Catholic, and conservative, point of view.

If it succeeds, Fidelis will be the only national Catholic grassroots advocacy group influencing the political process from so many angles -- contributing campaign cash to federal candidates; running issue ads and grassroots operations to support candidates, judicial nominees, and legislation it favors; litigating cases in court; and mobilizing activists in cyberspace.
Go to Fidelis' web site to read more.

Catholic League: Senator Feinstein Owes Catholics An Apology

Today, the Catholic League issued the following press release regarding California Senator Diane Feinstein's remarks during the confirmation hearings for John Roberts:
September 12, 2005


Catholic League president William Donohue has asked Senator Dianne Feinstein to apologize to Catholics for a remark she made today at the hearings of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts:

“In a prepared statement today at the hearings for John Roberts, Senator Dianne Feinstein said she was going to question the Supreme Court nominee on ‘the constitutional provision of providing for the separation of church and state.’ As an example of religious persecution, she cited Jews who lost their lives in Budapest during the Holocaust, a tragedy, she said, that ‘occurred in the name of religion.’

“At the time of the Holocaust, 67 percent of Hungary was Catholic, so we know who Senator Feinstein was blaming. Her remark is obscene. These are the words of Rabbi David Dalin, author of the just-published book, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis: ‘Jeno Levai, the great Hungarian Jewish historian, was so angered by accusations of papal ‘silence’ that he wrote Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent (published in English in 1968), with a powerful introduction and epilogue by Robert M.W. Kempner, the deputy chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremburg.’ Levai demonstrated how Catholic Church officials ‘intervened again and again on the instructions of the pope,’ the result of which was that ‘in the autumn and winter of 1944 there was practically no Catholic Church institution in Budapest where persecuted Jews did not find refuge.’

“There are three issues at work here. Number one, Feinstein shows an appalling ignorance of the Holocaust. Two, she blames Catholics—the very ones who came to the rescue of Jews in Budapest—not Nazis. Three, she fails to understand that had the First Amendment provision on religious liberty been operative in Nazi Germany, Hitler would not have been able to use the power of the state to club Christianity.

“Senator Feinstein has no track record of bigotry towards Catholics, but her remarks today call for an apology nonetheless.”

Roberts, Enmeshed

An editorial about John Roberts from Newsday:

Roberts, enmeshed
The chief justice nominee begins hearings in a town where he is deeply connected to the senators who will question him and the press will cover him

Kim Eisler is author of "Shark Tank: Greed, Politics, and the Collapse of Finley Kumble, One of America's Largest Law Firms." He is national editor of Washingtonian Magazine.

September 11, 2005


If there was anything surprising about the nomination of John G. Roberts to be the next chief justice of the United States, it would be that a president who claims to disdain Washington would nominate such an insider to lead the court for the next quarter-century.

Jane and John Roberts were married in 1996 by a doctrinally conservative Catholic priest from Washington named Peter Vaghi. A former big-firm lawyer himself, Vaghi attended law school at the University of Virginia before joining the priesthood in 1985. He was pastor at the restored downtown St. Patrick's Church when he married the Roberts. Vaghi has carefully cultivated close relationships with two other members of the U.S. Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Scalia played an influential role in persuading fellow Justice Clarence Thomas to convert to Catholicism several years ago. Thomas is a graduate of Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass. One of his classmates and best friends at Holy Cross was Peter Vaghi. With Scalia's input, Father Vaghi led Thomas to the Catholic Church.

Jane Roberts also is a graduate of Holy Cross College, serves on the school's board of trustees and frequently interacts with Thomas at alumni functions and dinners. She is a close friend of Thomas' wife, Virginia, and of Mary Ellen Bork, the onetime nun who is married to conservative lawyer and Supreme Court reject Robert Bork. Vaghi participated in the conversion of Bork to Catholicism.

Vaghi, now a monsignor and the pastor of the 1,500-member Church of the Little Flower in suburban Maryland, will soon have three justices under his influential gaze. Little Flower is the church to which the Roberts belong. With connections like that, it's no wonder Vaghi's name is repeatedly mentioned as a possible future bishop and then cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.

If Roberts drifted to the left in his decisions, he wouldn't be likely to draw much fire from conservative columnist Robert Novak, either. When the once-Jewish curmudgeonly columnist was converted to Christianity, one of the priests officiating was Roberts' priest, Msgr. Vaghi. Novak is solidly in Roberts' corner.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Move over Dan Brown. The MSM continues to do stellar work in uncovering the Papist conspiracy to dominate the United States Supreme Court.

But the question everyone in the press and on the Senate Judiciary Committee is really dying to have answered is: Where does John Roberts fall on the Wojtyla-Ratzinger Continuum?

Reasons to Be Concerned about Roberts' Record, Kennedy Says

From Cybercast News Service:
( - During Monday's confirmation hearing for Judge John Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) praised Roberts for being an "intelligent, well-educated and serious man," but those qualities "do not end the inquiry of our responsibility," he said.

Kennedy also criticized the Bush administration for not giving Democrats access to all of Roberts' records and called on Roberts to speak on the record regarding his views on abortion and other issues.

"Because the administration at least so far has chosen not to allow the Senate to have access to his full record, we can only wonder what they don't want us to know," said Kennedy.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, there are real and serious reasons to be deeply concerned about Judge Roberts' records. Many of his past statements and writings raise questions about his commitment to equal opportunity and to the bipartisan remedies we've adopted in the past," said Kennedy.
My Comments:
Obligatory "the Swimmer" pic follows.

Feinstein Demands Roberts Take a Stand on Abortion

From Cybercast News Service:
( - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Monday called on Judge John Roberts to answer where he stands on the issue of abortion, during his confirmation hearing to be chief justice of the Supreme Court.

"As the only woman on this committee, I believe I have an additional role in evaluating nominees for the Supreme Court. And that's to see if the hard-earned autonomy of women is protected," said Feinstein.

Feinstein recalled a time when abortion was illegal, and while she was a college student at Stanford University, she "watched the passing of a plate to collect money so a young woman could go to Tijuana for a back alley abortion." She also said she "knew a young woman who killed herself because she was pregnant."

In the 1960s, she said, as member of the California Women's Board of Terms and Parole, she "sentenced women who committed abortions to prison terms" under a California law.

"How a court decides future cases could determine whether both the beginning of life and the end-of-life decisions remain private or whether individuals could be subject to government intrusion or perhaps the risk of prison," said Feinstein.
My Comments:
Anderson demands Feinstein STFU!

Crybaby "Conciliar Catholic" Complains About Unquestioning Bobble-Headed NeoCaths

Arthur Jones, former editor of the National [Anti]Catholic Reporter, throws a temper tantrum and blogger Amy Welborn takes him out to the woodshed for a good old-fashioned spanking.*

*Or as we used to say back in East Texas, a good old-fashioned ass-whoopin'.

Rick Santorum - The Anti-Reagan Conservative?

(Hat tip: Rick Garnett at Mirror of Justice)

From National Journal, Jonathan Rauch notes that Rick's Santorum's brand of conservatism as put forward in It Takes A Family is a far cry from the conservatism of Goldwater and Reagan:
In 1960, a Republican senator named Barry Goldwater published a little book called The Conscience of a Conservative. The first printing of 10,000 copies led to a second of the same size, then a third of 50,000, until ultimately it sold more than 3 million copies. Goldwater's presidential candidacy crashed in 1964, but his ideas did not: For decades, Goldwater's hostility to Big Government ruled the American Right. Until, approximately, now.

Rick Santorum, a second-term Republican senator from Pennsylvania, has written a new book called It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good. The book is worth taking seriously for several reasons, not least of which is that it is a serious book. The writing and thinking are consistently competent, often better than that. The lapses into right-wing talk-radioese ("liberals practically despise the common man") are rare. Santorum wrestles intelligently, often impressively, with the biggest of big ideas: freedom, virtue, civil society, the Founders' intentions. Although he is a Catholic who is often characterized as a religious conservative, he has written a book whose ambitions are secular. As its subtitle promises, it is about conservatism, not Christianity.

Above all, it is worth noticing because, like Goldwater's Conscience, it lays down a marker. As Goldwater repudiated Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, so Santorum repudiates Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. It's now official: Philosophically, the conservative movement has split. Post-Santorum, tax-cutting and court-bashing can hold the Republican coalition together for only so much longer.


College Fight Songs - Comments Requested

In honor of this past weekend's great college football action, I want to ask for some reader input on the best, the worst, the most overrated, and the most underrated of all college fight songs. Here are my picks:

Best Fight Song
(1) "Notre Dame Victory March"
(2) "The Victors" (University of Michigan)
(3) "Fight On" (University of Southern California)

Worst Fight Song
(1) "The Good Old Song" (University of Virginia)
(2) "The Good Old Song" (University of Virginia)
(3) "The Good Old Song" (University of Virginia)
(honorable mention: "Tiger Rag" (Clemson University) - in addition to the horrible "melody", the lyrics of this awful fight song also celebrate the demise of the school's own mascot; but then, we are talking about the Clemson Institutute for the Mentally and Emotionally Challenged)

Most Overrated Fight Song (a.k.a "Yeah, yeah, your football team is on TV every week so your fight song is shoved down our throats.")
(1) "Boomer Sooner" (University of Oklahoma)
(2) "Texas Fight" (University of Texas)
(3) "Notre Dame Victory March" (it's definitely overrated, but it's still the best)

Most Underrated Fight Song (a.k.a. "You'd know this song by heart if our football team didn't suck.")
(1) "Rice University Fight Song"
(2) "Bear Down You Bears of Old Baylor U." (Baylor University)
(3) "Go U Northwestern" (Northwestern University)
(honorable mention: "Hail New Mexico" (University of New Mexico))

Okay, no homerism. Don't pick a song as best or worst just because you like or don't like a particular school or team. By the way, did I tell you that my alma mater's fight song absolutely SUCKS?

Friday, September 09, 2005

What to Expect During the Roberts Hearings


On Monday, September 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin holding hearings on the nomination of John Roberts to serve as America's 17th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. What can Americans expect during those hearings?

First, if Democratic liberals hold true to past form, they will – obliquely, subtly – inquire into Roberts' religious beliefs. This is a game plan they followed with many of the nominees to the federal appellate courts, including William Pryor and Pricilla Owen. That is, until Family Research Council, the Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights and others exposed their tactics in the "Justice Sunday" broadcast. (You can find more information about all this at )

With appellate court nominees, the liberal extremists cloaked their inquiry as one into "deeply held beliefs." But everyone knows what they were up to.

Note two things about such an inquiry. First, it is simply outrageous. It suggests that people of traditional religious faith are unfit to be judges on the federal courts. But the truth is that such people have served as judges since the first days of our republic. And this is fully in line with the Founding Fathers' intent – President John Adams, for instance, asserted: "It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can stand."

Second, note this – the attempt to disqualify a judicial nominee because of his religious beliefs is unconstitutional. Let me remind you of Article VI, Section 3: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." What the Democrats have been attempting is simply that, whether pursed directly or indirectly.

Since FRC, the Catholic League and others exposed the tactics of the Left during the hearings of federal appellate court nominees, it is doubtful (but certainly not impossible) that they will directly inquire into what they will call the nominee's "deeply held beliefs." However, it is very likely they will try to do so indirectly, by examining Roberts' "judicial philosophy."

Of course, it is fair to consider a nominee's judicial philosophy. In fact, so long as that is what a senator is really doing, it's essential. A judge will bring the same jurisprudential stance or philosophy to each and every case. Thus, to learn about the judge's philosophy is to learn what kind of judge he will be.

There are basically two kinds of judicial philosophy – that of restraint and that of activist social-engineering. Judges of the latter type seem to feel it is up to them to "do justice" as they see fit. While we might argue whether that position is philosophically sound, the relevant question for an American citizen is whether that concept of judging accords with the system of government established by our Founding Fathers.

Our Founders established a republican form of government, a system of limited government and checks and balances. They established a "federal" system, with some powers delegated to the national government, and others retained by the states. They established a system of shared national power – legislative power in the Congress, executive power in the President, and judicial power in the Supreme Court (and whatever other courts the Congress should create).

An activist judiciary upsets this finely wrought system. In essence what an activist judge does is to settle disputed social issues. But such issues are properly the domain of the legislature. In the legislature (Congress), citizens, through their elected representatives, debate, argue, horse-trade and compromise. It isn't pretty, but it's democracy. If a judge takes such disputed social issues out of the hands of the Congress, he is usurping the legislative role. Such a system would be one of judicial tyranny, not democracy.

By contrast, an advocate of judicial restraint accepts the limitations the Founders placed not only on the judiciary but on every aspect of government. Judicial restraint accepts the role the Founders intended for the courts, deciding the narrow issue presented in a case, not reaching out to set national policy. Such a judge interprets the constitution by the plain language, logic and structure of the text. He does not substitute his personal policy preferences for that of the legislature.

During the upcoming hearings on John Roberts, the Senate liberals would be entirely within their rights to inquire into the jurisprudential philosophy that Roberts will bring to judging. But they are entirely wrong to mask an (unconstitutional) inquiry into his religion under the rubric of "judicial philosophy".

As John Adams and common sense make clear, it is more likely that a person of faith will be a good judge than a bad one. But in any case, the only question should be whether a nominee will set aside personal views and decide a case impartially and on the merits.

Saunders is the Senior Fellow and Director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life & Bioethics. The views expressed are his and are not meant to represent official institutional views of FRC.

Copyright 2005 - Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
(Emphasis added)

Fidelis: “Upcoming Hearings Should Honor Rehnquist Legacy”

Fidelis: “Upcoming Hearings Should Honor Rehnquist Legacy”
Calls on Senators to Conduct Respectful Debate

WASHINGTON — Following the death of Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist, Fidelis paid tribute to the Chief Justice and his tenure on the bench and called on Senators to honor Rehnquist’s legacy in the upcoming confirmation hearings by conducting a respectful debate.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella stated: “Justice Rehnquist was a revered elder statesman because of his character, keen intellect and faithfulness to the Constitution. He is rightly heralded by his colleagues from all ideological leanings for his strong and even-handed leadership.”

The death of Rehnquist creates a second vacancy on the high court and sets the stage for a second series of confirmation hearings to fill the vacancy left by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor after President Bush nominated Judge John Roberts to serve as Chief Justice.

“With two vacancies on the court, the dynamic may become increasingly volatile. Senators should honor the Rehnquist legacy by conducting a respectful debate in the upcoming confirmation hearings, treat the nominees with dignity, and not subject those to questions about their religious beliefs or other deeply held personal beliefs that have no place or bearing in the hearings,” Cella said.

Following the delay of the Roberts confirmation hearings, the timeline of the next series of hearings was uncertain as was whether Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will remain on the bench into the next term of the Court that begins on October 3.

Cella: “Some U.S. Senators and liberal group allies are already signaling that they will use any means necessary to grill the nominees and disrupt the process. Questions to continue to swirl around Judge Roberts' religion and to what extent his faith will be a focus of questioning in his hearings. Given the anti-religious statements made by some in the U.S. Senators, there is serious concern that this could degenerate into the abusive spectacles of the past, and leave the country unrepresented on the Supreme Court.”

To learn more log onto

Catholic League: Feds Should Let Churches Rather Than FEMA Handle Disaster Relief

Today, the Catholic League issued the following press release:
September 9, 2005


Catholic League president William Donohue spoke today about the way government agencies and churches have responded to Hurricane Katrina:

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, two things seem obvious: the federal, state and local government response has been a disaster, and the response of churches has been nothing short of heroic. If there is any lesson to be learned, it is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should be dumped and that federal aid should be given to churches and other houses of worship that participate in emergency relief efforts. But the aid, either in the form of reimbursements or grants, must be offered without compromising the autonomy of churches.

“The evidence that government cannot do the job of churches is overwhelming. To take one example, there is an article in today’s New York Times entitled, ‘A New Meaning for ‘Organized Religion’: It Helps the Needy Quickly.’ The news story details the failure of FEMA and the triumph of churches. Regarding the response of government, the article reports that ‘many people said they could not wait that long, or did not have the patience to deal with all the bureaucratic mix-ups.’ Fortunately, the article says, ‘churches stepped into the void in what observers say is probably the largest such outpouring in recent memory, with tens of thousands of displaced people stretched out across the country.’

“The time has come for common sense to prevail: we need to end the stranglehold that the paranoid church-and-state extremists have had on directing public policy. And that means that in times of emergency, a new partnership between government and religion should be forged: federal dollars—without any strings attached—should be given to churches that provide emergency relief. It’s time we put the best interests of the needy first.”

Pope Wants Head-of-State Immunity From Texas Lawsuit

From the Texas Lawyer via
Joseph Ratzinger, a defendant in a Texas suit filed before he was elected Pope Benedict XVI, wants to be dismissed from the litigation, arguing he has head-of-state immunity.

But lawyers for the three plaintiffs, who allege in the civil suit they were abused by a former seminary student in Houston, vow to challenge any suggestion of immunity issued by the U.S. Department of State in response to Ratzinger's request, a challenge that could put the immunity argument to a test.

"Because Defendant is head of a recognized state, he is absolutely immune from the jurisdiction of the United States Courts," he says in the motion.

Ratzinger also says he should be dismissed from the suit on First Amendment grounds because the plaintiffs' claims would intrude on the internal working of the Roman Catholic Church and would require the court to interpret the meaning of religious documents and resolve issues of church governance.

[Full story]

Just A Few Administrative Items ...

I may not be blogging much today because I'm trying to tie up some loose ends at work (before going on vacation next week), and I'm hoping to avoid working over the weekend. Too much great college football action all day tomorrow (Go Cavaliers, Go Irish, Go Buckeyes), and then the Cowboys on Sunday (I'm originally from Texas, so it comes honestly).

But I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge and thank at least a few people who have linked to this site in the past couple of days:

*Mark Shea, thanks for your kind words and the link to my post about President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales.

*Holy Fool, who has been kind enough to link to several past items on this blog, thanks for your prayers and words of support for my sister-in-law and her family.

*Rick Lugari at Unam Sanctum (and some other blog), thank you for the link and for fighting the good fight against the Bishop Gumbletons of the world up there in the "Land of the 8 Sacraments".

*Zach Brissett at In Toon With The World, thank you for your kind words about this blog and for the link to my post on Southern Catholics. As usual, awesome cartoon today!

Welcome readers from Mark's, Holy Fool's, Rick's and Zach's blogs.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

At Rehnquist Funeral, Cardinal McCarrick Pays Tribute To "Tireless Champion Of Life"

Catholic World News links to 2 stories regarding Cardinal McCarrick's words at Chief Justice William Rehnquist's funeral:
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, in a welcome to those assembled in the Roman Catholic Church, praised Rehnquist as a "loving father and husband, an outstanding legal scholar, a tireless champion of life and a true lover of the law: in every sense, a great American."

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Justice William Rehnquist fought the good fight against the Court's pro-abortion jurisprudence going all the way back to 1973, when he - along with Justice Byron White - was one of 2 dissenting votes against the Roe v. Wade decision.

Godspeed to the Chief Justice - "a tireless champion of life". Now Says It Won't Use Storm Aftermath To Bash Roberts

From Cybercast News Service:
( - Contrary to a published report,'s political action group said on Thursday it does not plan to run an ad using the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to criticize Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

"We have no plans, and have never had plans, to produce such an ad," said Political Action executive director Eli Pariser in a press release issued Thursday morning.

[Full story]
My Comments:
I have a hard time believing's denials that they ever planned to run this ad. An organization founded for the purpose of glossing over a sitting President's lies under oath isn't exactly trustworthy in my view.

So, by my count that makes 2 defamatory ads about the Dread Judge Roberts that have had to be withdrawn by the loony left.

Prayer Request

I just found out my sister-in-law was diagnosed today with colon cancer. She is only 32 years old and the mother of 3 young children ranging in age from 4 years old down to 1 year old.

Please pray to our Blessed Mother on this her birthday for her intercession on behalf of my sister-in-law. Thank you.

Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Hail, our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope.
To Thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To Thee do we send up our sighs, mourning
and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate,
Thine Eyes of Mercy toward us,
and after this our exile, show unto us the
Blessed Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us O Holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Prayer to Saint Peregrine
Oh great Saint Peregrine, you who have been called "The Mighty" and "The Wonder-Worker" because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you. For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of these sick persons whom we entrust to you.

Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy.

Women, Hispanics, and Senators

(Hat tip: Professor Bainbridge)

Manuel Miranda, writing in The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal, speculates that possible replacements for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor fall into 3 categories - women, Hispanics, and Senators:
... The overriding challenge for the president is to rid us of the stigma of the Bork nomination, which produced a Republican stealth nominee like David Souter, by naming someone with a precise record, the kind of record William Rehnquist had in 1986.

This high goal is not imperiled by the political desire the president may have to name either a woman or a Hispanic. These are the categories to which the president is likely to limit his new short list. The White House may also look at senators; an option that previous presidents have taken when they wanted a smooth Senate confirmation of a solid nominee. Since the president invited it, let's speculate on these.

The women

• Edith Jones. A Texan who has sat on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for 20 years, Judge Jones has a deep judicial record that compares well to Rehnquist's. Unlike many nominees, she has the real affection of many conservative leaders.

• Priscilla Owen. A Texan who joined the Fifth Circuit earlier this year as part of the filibuster compromise, Judge Owen has more appellate experience than past Supreme Court nominees, but having served on a state supreme court with limited jurisdiction, she has written on few hot-button issues. She has the attributes of wide name recognition as the subject of three years of Democrat obstruction, and she is well known in the White House. Karl Rove ran her campaign for election to the Texas Supreme Court.

• Janice Rogers Brown. Judge Brown joined the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as part of the filibuster compromise. Her principled writings over nearly a decade as a California Supreme Court justice have made her a hero to conservatives, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court's unpopular decision in Kelo v. New London on taking of private property, a topic upon which she has famously opined. The White House would score several points by nominating a brilliant, eloquent and charming black woman raised in the Deep South.

• Maura Corrigan. Now on the Michigan Supreme Court, she was popularly elected three times, first to the appeals court where she served as chief judge and then to the state high court. She has 13 years' appellate experience and is a widow with two grown children. It would be hard for Democrats to oppose a popular judge from a swing blue state.

The Hispanics

• Emilio Garza. A Texan of Mexican descent who has served since 1991 on the Fifth Circuit, Judge Garza has all the attributes and clear judicial record for which conservatives are looking. Judge Garza has the additional gift of being friendly, affable and gracious.

• Danny Boggs. A 19-year veteran of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and currently its chief judge, the Cuban-born Judge Boggs has a deep judicial record and an overwhelming intellect.

• Raoul Cantero. The first Hispanic on the Florida Supreme Court was vetted for that post by the president's brother, Gov. Jeb Bush. Justice Cantero's record is not deep, but it is principled and he would meet another conservative goal of seating the court with young jurists. Justice Cantero is 45.

The senators

• Jeff Sessions. The second-term Alabama senator is one of the Senate's brightest and most endearing personalities. In 1986 the then-U.S. attorney was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee when President Reagan nominated him to be a federal district judge. He went on to become Alabama's attorney general before being elected in 1996 to replace one of the men who voted against him, Democrat Howell Heflin. He now sits on the Judiciary Committee alongside several other erstwhile opponents, including Chairman Arlen Specter.

• John Cornyn. The Texas freshman, elected in 2002, has served as state attorney general and a Texas Supreme Court justice. In the Senate he has carved out a place as a constitutional scholar and a principled thinker. Mr. Cornyn's nomination would allow the Texas governor to appoint Rep. Henry Bonilla to the Senate.

• Mel Martinez. Florida's recently elected senator has no judicial record but wide experience as the secretary of housing and urban development and mayor of Orlando. He is a devout Catholic with a remarkable personal story and is Hispanic.
My Comments:
With the exception of Maura Corrigan and Mel Martinez (only because I know very little, if anything, about them), I would be quite pleased with any one of those possible nominees. Because of that, I have little doubt that Dubya will choose someone NOT on this list.

This Is Satire, Right?

Richard Cohen writes on the Roberts nomination in today's Washington Post:

Too Perfect to Know the People?

By Richard Cohen

Thursday, September 8, 2005; Page A29

I sometimes think the best thing that ever happened to me was, at the time, the worst: I flunked out of college. I did so for the usual reasons -- painfully bored with school and distracted by life itself -- and so I went to work for an insurance company while I plowed ahead at night school. From there I went into the Army, emerging with a storehouse of anecdotes. In retrospect, I learned more by failing than I ever would have by succeeding. I wish that John Roberts had a touch of my incompetence.

Instead, the nominee for chief justice of the United States punched every career ticket right on schedule. He was raised in affluence, educated in private schools, dispatched to Harvard and then to Harvard Law School. He clerked for a U.S. appellate judge (the storied Henry J. Friendly) and later for William H. Rehnquist, then an associate justice. Roberts worked in the Justice Department and then in the White House until moving on to Hogan & Hartson, one of Washington's most prestigious law firms; then he was principal deputy solicitor general, before moving to the bench, where he has served for only two years. His record is appallingly free of failure.

[More idiocy follows]
Hat tip: Captain's Quarters

See also, John Podhoretz at the Corner on NRO

My Comments:
Apparently, John Roberts didn't smoke enough crack to be qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.

Rick Garnett on the Rehnquist Funeral

Former Rehnquist clerk and current Notre Dame Law Professor Rick Garnett blogs at Mirror of Justice about the funeral of Chief Justice Rehnquist, which he attended:
It was, in a way, a happy (though sad) event. A celebration of a live lived fully and well.

One theme came up, again and again: The Chief Justice worried often that too many lawyers did a bad job of finding balance in their lives, and that they were unhappy because they did not remember that their families and loved ones were the most important things. Good advice for law students.
My Comments:
Lawyers do need to remember to keep some perspective about what is most important in life. One reason I no longer practice law is because the profession tends to be all-consuming, and spending time with family and friends (and not grinding my teeth while I slept at night due to stress) was just more important to me than the money and status of a career in the big firm.

It is a tribute to Chief Justice Rehnquist that he encouraged lawyers to remember this.

Please go over to Amy Welborn's post on this subject and read the first comment from "Jim". It is the best testimonial for Rehnquist that I have ever read.'s TV Ad Uses Storm's Aftermath To Target Roberts

From USAToday:
The televised images of poverty-stricken evacuees from Hurricane Katrina are part of a provocative, last-minute effort by a liberal interest group to divert federal Judge John Roberts' path to confirmation as chief justice. Political Action plans to unveil a TV ad on Monday that questions whether Roberts is sensitive enough to civil rights concerns to lead the Supreme Court. The ad suggests that the plight of the mostly African-American evacuees in New Orleans showed that poverty remains a serious problem among minorities, said Ben Brandzel, the group's advocacy director. In a mix of judicial and racial politics, the ad then suggests that minorities could suffer if the Senate confirms Roberts.

“The connection is obvious,” Brandzel said. “The images after Hurricane Katrina show we still live in a society where significant racial inequities exist. We believe John Roberts' record on civil rights … is clearly not the direction our country needs to head now.”

Conservative groups such as the Committee for Justice accused their opposition of playing politics with the disaster on the Gulf Coast and said that the conservative Roberts has favored several legal positions that would benefit minorities and the poor.
My Comments:
The Dread Judge Roberts - bombing abortion clinics and killing black people with hurricanes.

The ads that the left has decided to run against Roberts can only be described as the worst sort of demogoguery. I suppose there is nothing left for the left other than this politics of histrionics, so intellectually bankrupt and devoid of substance have they become.

Bush's "Playful Glance" at Gonzales Annoys Some Conservatives

From Newsday (via Cybercast News Service):
WASHINGTON -- Maybe President Bush was just joking around to fuel speculation, but conservatives aren't laughing about the president's playful glance at Attorney General Alberto Gonzales when he described the list of possible nominees for the second Supreme Court vacancy as "wide open."

"No conservative leader supports Al Gonzales and those who say they do are not telling the truth but are afraid of losing White House access, or promised help with fundraising," said Manuel Miranda, former counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

[Full story]
My Comments:
In the aftermath of Katrina, several people (Mark Shea, for example) have asked those conservatives who are generally supportive of President Bush what it would take for us to turn on him. Well, this is the issue for me. Call it my "polestar" if you will.

The issue of judicial nominations (i.e. nominating strict constructionists who will roll back Roe v. Wade and its progeny of death) is the most important reason that I have continued to vote for Republicans. Yeah, limited government, low taxes, and strong national defense are all important issues for me. But the role the federal courts have played in shaping America's social policy - coming down on the wrong side of the culture war - is the biggie for me.

If Bush gets this wrong, I'm done with him and the Republicans. Mind you, I will never vote for the Death Party. I will, however, go 3rd party or sit out elections from here on.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sept. 8 - The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

(Hat tips: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America for the top pic and Recta Ratio for the bottom one.)

Yeah, what The Anchoress said.

Gallup Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Interested In Roberts' Abortion Stance

From Catholic News Agency:
Gallup poll shows Americans overwhelmingly interested in Robert’s abortion stance; Fr. Pavone "not surprised"

WASHINGTON DC, September 07 (CNA) - A recent Gallup poll showed that Americans are more interested in Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Robert’s stance on abortion than in any other issue, a finding which Fr. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life does not find surprising.

[Full story]
My Comments:
"... Americans are more interested in Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Robert’s stance on abortion than in any other issue ..."

Count me as one of them. Which doesn't mean I think that Senators should ask or that Roberts should answer questions related to his views on abortion at his confirmation hearing.

TheFactIs: "How God is a Dilemma for CNN and a Consolation for Almost Everyone Else"

... Here in America, such a large majority profess some kind of traditional religious belief that even the unbelieving would not think of calling for religion's elimination. However, the unbelieving or minimally believing members of the media can (and do) try to ghettoize religious opinions they don't like. So editorial writers and op-ed writers worry that John Roberts' religious beliefs might influence his jurisprudence; they condemn the "private religious opinion" of many traditional Christians that it is wrong to sacrifice young embryos to obtain stem cells for treating "real" human beings. And they sound the alarm when they see religion sneaking through science's back door in the debate between Darwin and Intelligent Design.

But just how a functionally agnostic press should react gets trickier when the story they are covering is a large-scale tragedy like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina. Most of the victims – and their families, friends, and attempted rescuers – are Christians. When these people fear for their lives, they implore God's aid. When rescued, they give thanks. When mourning another's death, they beg God's help in their present distress, and comfort themselves by anticipating future reunion with the departed.

The arc of the standard human interest story during times of disaster fits religious protagonists to a tee: Anxiety and distress give way to joy and gratitude or pain leavened by religiously expressed solace. This story line makes for moving copy, but it can pose a dilemma for liberal American journalists (even those who sort of believe in a not-very-interfering God), because it may not resemble how the journalist would react under similar divine provocation...

So journalists deliver that classic disaster story arc, complete with their protagonists' profoundly moving acknowledgement of dependence upon God. But these stories, with their slightly alien (to network news or CNN ears) language of being "blessed" or accepting God's will, are often reported from a sort of respectful distance on the part of the journalist. From across the divide of religious belief or religious commitment, the secular media view religious people caught up in national news events with a certain incomprehension, but sometimes also with a note of yearning and wonder. Not a bad picture frame through which to view the difference that God makes.
Copyright 2005 - Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Nominee For Chief Justice Would Be Third Catholic In That Position

From Catholic News Service:

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Should Judge John G. Roberts be confirmed as the chief justice of the United States, he would become the third Catholic to hold that post.

The first Catholic on the Supreme Court was also the first Catholic chief justice. Justice Roger B. Taney served as chief from 1836 until 1864. Taney, the son of a Maryland plantation owner and slaveholder, was named to the court to fill the vacancy for chief justice.

The only other Catholic to have been chief justice, Edward Douglas White, was elevated to the position in 1910 after 16 years on the court as an associate justice.

Roberts would be the 10th Catholic on the court since it first assembled in 1790.

He also would be the fourth Catholic among its current members, joining Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, the most at one time. Until Kennedy joined Scalia on the court in 1988, there had only been one Catholic on the court at a time.

[Full story]
My Comments:
I didn't realize Roger Taney was Catholic. I had no idea that it could be possibe for any Catholic to be responsible for such a travesty of justice as Dred Scott v. Sanford.

Of course, being "Catholic" didn't keep William J. Brennan from signing on to Dred Scott's 20th Century reincarnation in the form of Roe v. Wade.

The other interesting statistic (at least to me) in this story is that, before 1988, there was never more than 1 Catholic serving on the Court at a time. I don't know why, but I always assumed that Byron White - who served on the Court at the same time as Brennan - was Catholic (he was actually Epicopalian). Probably had something to do with his being (1) appointed by President John F. Kennedy and (2) pro life.

Wait a minute. Didn't Scalia serve on the Court with Brennan? Indeed, Scalia was nominated and confirmed in 1986, while Brennan was still a member of the Court. Not to quibble with the details of the story, but that made 2 Catholics serving simultaneously in 1986, not 1988. When Kennedy was confirmed in 1988, Brennan was still on the Court, which made Kennedy a 3rd Catholic on the Court at one time.

Maybe the author of this piece is taking issue with pro-abort William Brennan's status as a "Catholic". But then, that would apply to Anthony Kennedy as well.

Bork: "Brilliant" Roberts the Best Conservatives Will Get

From Cybercast News Service:
( - One-time Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork Tuesday lashed out at the high court and the U.S. Senate for politicizing the judiciary and offered little hope to conservatives hoping to see Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion, overturned.

Bork said the possibility is "virtually nil" that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned in the next 10 years, even with John Roberts presiding as chief justice and a more conservative jurist replacing Sandra Day O'Connor. "I simply do not know if [Roberts] would vote to overturn constitutional mistakes of the past," Bork said.

Bork was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 for a seat on the Supreme Court, but came under heavy political attack from Democrats, especially Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, and was ultimately rejected by the Senate 58 to 42. The campaign to ruin Bork's nomination eventually became a prototype for the political Left, resulting in the judge's name being used as a verb.

Roberts, President Bush's choice to replace the late William Rehnquist as chief justice of the Supreme Court, is well prepared for the post, Bork said. While praising Roberts for his "brilliant mind," Bork said he has "never heard [Roberts] say anything about judicial philosophy."

And that silence about judicial philosophy is the best decision Roberts could have made, Bork said, because it limits the political attacks against him. Bork's own outspoken judicial philosophy gave his political enemies many opportunities with which to attack him in 1987 and helped doom his nomination.

He added that conservatives should be happy with Roberts' nomination, in spite of the fact that the Bush nominee has not stated a position on hot button issues like abortion, affirmative action and homosexual marriage. "If they insist on a nominee who makes a campaign promise to them ... maybe he should not be confirmed," Bork said.

"They're not going to get any better nominees through," he added. However, Bork concluded that it would be "politically attractive" for the president to nominate a woman, possibly a minority, to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

(emphasis added)

Democrats Shift Strategy On Roberts

From The Boston Globe:
Democrats shift strategy on Roberts
Plan to use Katrina to highlight racial and economic divide

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff September 7, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats said yesterday that they will invoke the vast disparities in income and living conditions laid bare by the Hurricane Katrina disaster to sharpen their questioning of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. at his confirmation hearings next week.

The scenes of devastation featuring primarily poor African-American residents in New Orleans have highlighted the widening gap between rich and poor, said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts.

With Roberts having urged a narrow interpretation of civil rights laws in the past, Senate Democrats will link the scenes of economic hardship with the constitutional and legal issues that surround efforts to address racial and economic inequalities, he said.

[Full story]
My Comments:
The Democrats - When you "care" enough to never miss an opportunity to politicize a tragedy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

George Weigel: An Open Letter To Senator Patrick Leahy

From the Ethics And Public Policy Center:
An Open Letter to Senator Patrick Leahy
By George Weigel


Publication Date: September 6, 2005

Dear Senator Leahy:

Because you’re the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, your performance during the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts will tell the country a lot about the constitutional and moral priorities of the Democratic Party and the party’s sense of fair play.

As one Catholic to another, permit me to suggest that you also have an opportunity, indeed a responsibility, to insure that Catholic-bashing, overt or subtle, does not spill over into the Judiciary Committee’s deliberations from the activists’ battle-of-the-blogs and the food fights on cable TV.

In late July, you told a Vermont radio show that you wouldn’t vote to confirm a nominee who “didn’t consider Roe v. Wade settled law.” You then compared Roe to Brown v. Board of Education, the epic civil rights case that rejected “separate but equal” public education as unconstitutional. I suggest that you have the wrong analogy here. The correct analogy is between Roe and Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 decision that created the “separate but equal” doctrine. Now there was “unsettled law;” there was a decision that cut across the grain of basic principles of justice; there was a decision that roiled our politics for generations, until Brown effectively reversed Plessy in 1954. Plessy, in a word, was the Roe of its time: a case wrongly-decided on a fundamental issue.

There is nothing “settled” about Roe v. Wade, which liberal constitutional scholars like Archibald Cox and Alexander Bickel deplored as judicial overreach in 1973. Roe ignited the most divisive debate in our national politics — just as Plessy eventually did. Because Roe got it so wrong on such a basic point of justice — does innocent human life deserve the protection of the law? — it has endlessly distorted other aspects of our law and our politics: again, just like Plessy did. Roe no more “settled” the abortion debate than Plessy settled the question of racial justice in America. To suggest otherwise ignores the evidence all around us.

One final thought: in these hearings, I trust that you (and Senators Biden, Durbin, and Kennedy) will not reinforce the Kerryesque canard that the Catholic opposition to abortion is a sectarian matter, analogous to Mormons trying to “impose” a ban on caffeinated beverages throughout the United States. The Catholic argument is not complicated: the product of conception is a genetically unique human being; that human being never will be anything other than a human being; as innocent human life, it is inviolable and deserves the protection of the law. That’s it. You don’t have to believe in seven sacraments or papal primacy to engage that argument. Please remember that in the weeks ahead.
My Comments:
But ... but ... Weigel is a neo-con who supports Bush, so we can just dismiss anything he says. Plus, he's a Presidential and Papal "suck-up", unlike that intellectual giant and free-thinker Father Richard McBrien.

Hammer of the Heretics

(Hat tip: The Angry Twins)

Raymond Arroyo's new biography of EWTN foundress (and possible future saint) Mother Angelica has a chapter entitled "Hammer of the Heretics", which covers the infamous spat between Mother and Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles.

Included in this chapter is the following excerpt of a fax Mother Angelica sent to then-Archbishop of New York, John Cardinal O'Connor:
"I find it extremely beneath the dignity of a Prince of the Church to continue bringing this subject up before the public, both here and abroad, over a 15 second remark. Why is it that such a brief remark should have long-lasting repercussions? I now realize there is no end to His Eminence demands." At the close of the fax, she wrote, "I will not be made a pawn or tool in the hands of American liberals who have done such great harm to so many people." (pg 277)

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Kudos to Raymond for taking on this touchy subject regarding the Mahony "spat" (how could he not?) in this book, and especially for having the guts to include that particular excerpt. While we're at it, kudos to the bishops who came to Mother's defense during that serious crisis when EWTN's future was in doubt, like Cardinal O'Connor and Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Youngstown. I'm sure there were others, as well.

And shame on those bishops who persecuted dear, saintly old Mother Angelica, like Mahony, St. Petersburg's Bishop Robert Lynch (he of Terri Schiavo infamy), Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati, and Archbishop (now emeritus) Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee.

Atheists: No Prayer For Katrina Victims

Atheists: No prayer for disaster victims
U.S. group says president violating Constitution by urging pleas to God

Posted: September 5, 2005
9:15 p.m. Eastern

© 2005

The American Atheists organization says President Bush should stop urging prayer for Hurricane Katrina victims because it violates the Constitution.

Ellen Johnson, president of the group said Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Bush "should not be violating the Constitution by telling people to pray for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It's unconstitutional for government officials to be promoting religion; and besides, judging from the speed of some relief efforts, officials should be busy working instead of preaching."


Proof That Bearing False Witness Against A Future Pope Is Not Unforgiveable

Proving that he does not hold a grudge, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has apparently decided NOT to accept the resignation of Washington, D.C. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick "at this time". According to Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia, Cardinal McCarrick announced the Holy Father's decision at the annual Labor Day gathering for the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington.

You may remember that it was Cardinal McCarrick who who just last year "misrepresented" the contents of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's letter to the American Bishops regarding the propriety of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians.

Dom Bettinelli wonders whether the good Cardinal may be up to his old tricks and could be "misrepresenting" again, since "we have McCarrick saying that Ratzinger/Benedict told him he’s staying on past retirement, but we have heard no announcement out of the Vatican on this".

Hmmm. Very interesting.

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