Friday, June 29, 2007
Chris Matthews Criticizes Catholic Church for Applying Doctrine to Politicians
Maybe this afternoon's oppressive heat and humidity on the Hardball Plaza in DC were getting to Chris Matthews. I'm not sure how else to explain his complaint, to the effect that it is wrong of the Roman Catholic Church to apply its rules to politicians as it does to other adherents.(emphasis in original)
His remark came in the course of a debate on religion on this afternoon's edition of "Hardball" between Christopher Hitchens, author of the atheist polemic "God Is Not Great", and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Today you have the Roman Catholic church through its bishops challenging the rights of Catholic office-holders to take positions for abortion rights. They basically say you have to be for imprisonment of people involved with abortion or else you're not a Catholic and you'll be excommunicated. It seems to be an era, not just because of Islam, to keep religion out of politics . . . Why are they foisting themselves, why are the religious leaders jumping into the political marketplace and saying to politically-elected people, who are duly elected, "you cannot take that position and be in our church, or we will excommunicate you"? That seems to be what's going on.
View video here.
I have never heard a Catholic official say that a member of the Church who opposes established doctrine does not have a have right to run for or serve in office. But surely the Church has a right, one might argue a duty, to enforce its doctrine on politicians just as on any other member. Should the Church say that a pro-abortion rights politician is a member in good standing when, pursuant to Church doctrine, he apparently is not? Does Matthews expect an exemption for politicians? Would Matthews object if the NAACP expelled someone who, say, espoused a belief in white supremacy? What's the difference?
E.J. Dionne: "Not One More Roberts or Alito"
E.J. Dionne, metrosexual columnist for The Washington comPost, throws a temper tantrum over the President's Supreme Court appointments in response to the Court's recent decisions:
Just say no.My Comments:
The Senate's Democratic majority -- joined by all Republicans who purport to be moderate -- must tell President Bush that this will be their answer to any controversial nominee to the Supreme Court or the appellate courts.
The Senate should refuse even to hold hearings on Bush's next Supreme Court choice, should a vacancy occur, unless the president reaches agreement with the Senate majority on a mutually acceptable list of nominees.
As for the Supreme Court, we now know that the president's two nominees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, are exactly what many of us thought they were: activist conservatives intent on leading a judicial counterrevolution. Yesterday's 5 to 4 ruling tossing out two school desegregation plans was another milestone on the court's march to the right.
Especially troubling was the opinion offered by Roberts and Alito this week eviscerating the rather modest restrictions on sham "issue" ads in the McCain-Feingold law. The provision, which applies for 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election, is aimed at preventing large amounts of corporate and union money from getting around campaign finance restrictions.
Waaaaaaaaaah! Somebody call a waaaaaaaaahmulance.
When crybaby leftists like E.J. Dionne get their panties in a twist over a Supreme Court ruling, you can count on 2 things:
(1) the ruling was correct, and
(2) I'm probably smiling.
Here's some more crying from the comPost. Sniff.
Blunt Talk from Catholic Joe Biden
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Delaware Sen. Joe Biden’s trademark blunt talk set up the liveliest and one of the frankest admissions in a gathering of presidential candidates so far this campaign.My Comments:
In response to a question about AIDS in the black community, Biden said, "... it’s not unmanly to wear a condom."
"... it’s not unmanly to wear a condom."
Well, it's certainly not very Catholic.
(I hope questioning his allegiance to Catholic teaching on Humane Vitae won't cause Sen. Biden to shove his rosary beads down my throat.)
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on "Plugs" Biden:
Democratic Candidates for President Give Unanimous Pro-Abortion Views
During First Debate, Democrats Back Abortion, Criticize Efforts to Save Terri Schiavo
Media Sycophant Says: "Joe Biden Does Something Heroic"
The Ego of the Senate
Lie of the Day
Biden: Chance of Filibuster on Alito Stronger
Biden: "I'm Going To Shove My Rosary Beads Down Their Throat"
Biden To Roberts: "You're The Best"
Letter to the Editor
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Digest of Today's Posts (28 June 2007)
Buffalo City Council Lambastes Catholic Diocese on City School Closings
Common Council members Wednesday criticized the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for its plan to close a number of city churches and schools, some of the lawmakers contending that it abandons city neighborhoods and appears “to have the whiff of ethnic cleansing.”(emphasis added)
Lawmakers want assurances the diocese will not sell shuttered churches to unscrupulous buyers who would leave behind “dangerous, gutted eyesores.”
Council President David A. Franczyk of the Fillmore District, author of the resolution approved Wednesday, assailed the diocese for acting in a “vacuum” by failing to consider the negative impact the closings will have on some neighborhoods. He also said the mergers will force some Catholics to practice their faith in “generic” suburban parishes, far from city neighborhoods.
Bishop Edward U. Kmiec issued a statement after learning of Franczyk’s use of the term “ethnic cleansing” in his bill.
“Not only to make such a statement, but to put it in writing and introduce it into the public record is appalling, irresponsible and misinformed,” Kmiec wrote. “It is an affront to all the peoples who have indeed suffered through time by ethnic cleansing, and it is disgraceful to make the Journey in Faith and Grace [the diocese’s restructuring plan] analogous to such an evil process.”
In its final session of the fiscal year, the Council adopted portions of a bill drafted by Franczyk expressing opposition to any push by the diocese to hastily sell properties to unsuitable buyers.
While all seven lawmakers attending the session voted for the resolution, Council members Richard A. Fontana of Lovejoy and Brian C. Davis of Ellicott objected to some of the harsh language in Franczyk’s bill. In particular, Fontana disagreed with the reference to “ethnic cleansing.”
Kmiec said parishes throughout all eight counties of Western New York are being reconfigured in an effort to strengthen the church.
Council leaders and diocesan officials plan to meet next month to discuss plans to reuse churches and schools in the city that are targeted for closure.
North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., a co-sponsor of the bill, said that as a practicing Catholic, he is disappointed that many parishes are being merged.
“It shows the Diocese of Buffalo is being run more as a business than as a religious institution,” Golombek said.
Franczyk contended that the church appears to have little confidence in an effort to revive the city. [ED.: I can't imagine why, what with such level-headed city leadership.]
“Isn’t it all about faith?” Franczyk asked. “Where is the faith? Where is the faith that the city is worth fighting for?”
Franczyk criticized diocesan decisionmakers for acting like “coldhearted bean counters.” He added that if the Catholic Church is having financial problems and is discounting the importance of significant structures, perhaps it should consider selling the Vatican.
Such feelings of good will the city's leadership has toward the Church. I can't imagine why the diocese might want to divest itself of properties in such a place.
UPDATE (29 June)
The Catholic League has entered the fracas. Here's the press release from The Catholic League.
Buckeye State Embarassment: Ohio Sen. George RINOvich Melts Down
U.S. Catholic Bishops Begin Campaign on Marriage
From Associated Press (via the Houston Chronicle):
DENVER — U.S. Roman Catholic bishops began a campaign Wednesday to strengthen the institution of marriage by encouraging spouses to perform simple day-to-day gestures for one another.(emphasis added)
The campaign, a series of radio and television spots, is part of a broader effort to bring a greater Catholic voice to the debate over the meaning of marriage.
The spots show ordinary people in parks and other public places answering the question "What have you done for your marriage today?" The answers — waking up early with the baby, organizing a date night — are meant to promote small acts of kindness as medicine for making marriages last a lifetime.
Missing from the spots is any overt religious message, although they are identified as Catholic and end with an invitation to visit http://www.foryourmarriage.org. The Web site promises resources for Catholic and non-Catholic couples on everything from conflict resolution to finances.
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, a member of the bishops' committee on marriage and family life, said the spots deliberately avoid religion to reach a wide audience.
"Both marriage and family are necessary for the common good of society," he said. "When either institution weakens, all of us suffer the consequences. When both marriage and family grow stronger, all of us benefit."
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Digest of Today's Posts (27 June 2007)
Some Recent Photos
Bishop Blair to Meet with Parishioners of St. Rose
From the Toledo Blade:
Bishop Leonard Blair has agreed to meet with three members of St. Rose Catholic Church in Perrysburg who are asking him to keep the Rev. Thomas Leyland as their pastor.My Comments:
But the meeting won't be held until Monday - the day after Father Leyland is scheduled to retire.
"His timing is unfortunate because it's the day after Father Leyland's last day," said Joan Foster, one of the parishioners who will meet with the bishop. "But some of the others are delighted. They feel it's our one chance to talk to him."
Bishop Blair has appointed the Rev. David Nuss as St. Rose's new pastor, and the Rev. Marvin Borger, chancellor and vicar general of the diocese, as part-time associate pastor, effective Monday, the day of the meeting.
Mrs. Foster, Gary Forquer, and James Schaller delivered a petition with more than 1,500 signatures to the bishop's office Monday, asking him to reconsider his plan to replace Father Leyland. They also requested an open meeting today with the bishop for all of Father Leyland's supporters .
Sally Oberski, director of communications for the Toledo diocese, said yesterday that there is "no change in the status of Father Leyland's retirement and Father's Nuss' appointment as pastor" and that "nothing will be postponed."
Bishop Blair agreed to meet with the trio because "he wants the representatives to understand that he is well aware of their concerns," Ms. Oberski said.
"He wants them to understand that he is not removing him as any kind of negative reflection on Father Leyland. He is, in fact, not renewing his term, which expired two years ago. Father Leyland was offered the opportunity to accept a new assignment. He chose to retire."
The petition describes Father Leyland as "a strong and faithful spiritual leader to his congregation" and a priest who "has served the Toledo diocese with devotion for over 40 years. He deserves, as do we his parishioners, a fair, just, and open hearing into the reasons that Bishop Blair is terminating Father Leyland's pastorate at St. Rose Parish."
A native of Perrysburg, Father Leyland, 69, went to St. Rose Elementary School and has been pastor of the 8,100-member parish since 1999. Father Leyland has said he wanted to continue serving at St. Rose for several more years.
The older brother of Detroit Tigers Manager Jim Leyland, Father Leyland contends that Bishop Blair is forcing him into retirement as punishment for publicly criticizing the bishop's handling of the creation of a new Perrysburg parish, Blessed John XXIII, which cuts into St. Rose's boundaries.
Father Leyland has filed an appeal with the Vatican asking it to overturn Bishop Blair's decision.
Claudia Vercellotti of the Toledo chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said yesterday that the bishop's willingness to meet with St. Rose's parishioners after Father Leyland's retirement "is analogous to a governor agreeing to consider a stay of execution - the day after the execution."
Obey your Bishop. Even when you disagree with him.
Some of the
Proposed Legislation Would Protect Access to Gun Stores
From Cybercast News Service:
(CNSNews.com) - A Second Amendment group is drafting federal legislation that would prevent anti-gun demonstrators from blocking access to gun stores.My Comments:
The proposed legislation stems from recent protests at a suburban Chicago gun shop.
On Saturday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger, were arrested and charged with trespassing for blocking the entrance to Chuck's Gun Shop in Riverdale.
Pfleger said they've targeted Chuck's Gun Shop because it sells "more guns...than any place else in the state." The store is near Chicago, where gun sales are banned, and Jackson says its proximity to the city provides gang members and criminals with easy access to firearms.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said its proposed bill is not an attack on the First Amendment.
"Nobody is saying Jackson can't protest a gun shop," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. "We are, however, seeking the same protection from interference that is now guaranteed by federal statute to reproductive health services facilities."
CCRKBA Public Affairs Director John Snyder noted that it is illegal for pro-life activists to block access to abortion clinics -- "and it should be just as illegal for anti-gunners to block access to gun shops," he said.
"This is neither a First or Second Amendment issue but rather a Fourteenth Amendment issue relating to equal protection."
Under CCRKBA's proposal, anyone who uses force, a threat of force, physical obstruction, or intimidates or intentionally injures another person who is attempting to enter a gun shop, or who operates such a store, would be criminally liable.
Three weeks ago, Pfleger told anti-gun activists that he would find gun shop owner John Riggio and "snuff him out." (See related story)
... it is illegal for pro-life activists to block access to abortion clinics -- "and it should be just as illegal for anti-gunners to block access to gun shops" ...
What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Local Ohio Newspaper Editor to Violate Privacy of Firearms Owners
Catholic Priest Calls for "Snuffing" of Gun Shop Owner and Politicos Who Support 2nd Amendment
Virginia Tells NYC and Bloomberg to Pound Sand
Toledo Blade Editorialist Wants Forcible Dis-Arming of America's Citizenry
To Our European and Australian "Friends" ...
Roanoke Times Columnist Compares Law-Abiding Gun Owners to Sex Offenders, Publishes Their Names and Addresses
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Digest of Today's Posts (26 June 2007)
(Digest of Yesterday's Posts (24 June 2007))
Labels: Digest of Posts
National Catholic Register on the Late Bob Casey, Sr.: "Mighty Casey and American Humility"
Donald DeMarco writes in the July 1-7 issue of the National Catholic Register:
... It seemed perfectly logical in Robert’s mind to extend the special empathy he learned from his father to the most weak and vulnerable of all God’s human creatures, the unborn. Abortion, he would say, is not a question of when life begins. It is a question of when love begins.
“No insignificant person was ever born,” he stated, “and no insignificant person ever dies.”
In due time, Robert became the auditor general for his state. From this position of experience and accomplishment, he ran for governor but was thrice defeated. His opponents gloated over “the three-time loss from Holy Cross.” But Robert knew about hardship and the will to go on.
He ran again, in 1986, with the slogan, “Bob Casey is back — and so is Pennsylvania.” He won by a narrow margin. Four years later, he was re-elected, defeating Barbara Hafer, a pro-abortion Republican. His margin of victory was more than a million votes, carrying 66 of 67 Pennsylvania counties.
He continued to do as much as he could to protect the unborn. But Planned Parenthood sued him over his state’s Abortion Control Act. Gov. Casey fought valiantly to offer the unborn as much protection as possible, given the tight restrictions imposed by Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court heard the case in 1992, prompting the governor to declare: “In this debate, who speaks for the child? Today I have come to say that Pennsylvania speaks for the child.”
Fidelis: "Giuliani ‘Hunting in Vain’ for Support from Conservative Christians"
WASHINGTON — Today’s appearance of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, will not convince conservative Christian voters to jettison their pro-life convictions.
Fidelis America PAC spokesman Brian Burch stated: “This is the second appearance of Rudy Giuliani at a Christian university in as many months, and it is becoming clear he is hunting in vain for the support of conservative Christians.”
In May, Giuliani appeared at Houston Baptist University where he contradicted his liberal position on abortion. Since then, a growing chorus of conservative Christian leaders has publicly voiced their staunch opposition to Giuliani’s candidacy including Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a column yesterday, Tony Perkins and Chuck Donovan, the President and Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, described Giuliani as a grave threat to the pro-life movement.
Dobson has explained his opposition to Giuliani saying: “My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else.” Land said: “I don’t think I could sell [Giuliani] to most [Southern Baptists and evangelicals], and I wouldn’t try.” Perkins and Donovan suggested in their column yesterday that the Giuliani candidacy threatens one of the foundational principles of the Republican Party, namely its core dedication to moral values.
Earlier this month, Catholic Bishop Michael Tobin of the Diocese of Providence described Giuliani’s proclamations on abortion as “pathetic,” “confusing,” “hypocritical” and “preposterous.” News stories since have suggested that Giuliani’s faces an uphill battle in convincing faithful Catholics to buck their Church and ignore his pro-abortion position.
“Supporting Giuliani is not an option for a vast majority of faithful Catholics, many of whom believe, along with their Church, that any claim to protect the common good begins with a commitment to upholding the dignity of every human person, including life at its earliest stages. Catholics cannot simply overlook his unfettered support for embryo-killing research, abortion rights, partial birth abortion, and taxpayer funding of abortion, not to mention his support of policies that would destroy the traditional family,” Burch stated.
Burch added: “Giuliani is engaged in desperation politics, and as time goes on, even more voters will realize how far outside of the mainstream he is on the issues of abortion and marriage, particularly in the Midwest and South, which could seal the fate of his candidacy.”
"Catholic" Bill Richardson Would Only Appoint Pro-Abortion Judges to Supreme Court
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson says he has a litmus test when it comes to appointing judges: they must be pro-abortion. The New Mexico governor made the statement on Friday at a forum at Drake University while campaigning in Iowa, the site of the first presidential caucuses.(emphasis added)
Calling Roe v. Wade "settled law," Richardson said he would not nominate anyone for the Supreme Court who favored overturning the 1973 case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
Richardson also said he would not "dance around" abortion when questioning potential nominees, according to a Des Moines Register report.
"I know that I am going to upset some people," Richardson said.
"I would say [to potential Supreme Court nominees], 'Do you believe that Roe v. Wade is settled law?' If they say yes, they have a good chance of being picked. If they say no, I will not pick them," he explained.
Richardson has a long-standing record supporting abortion and he compiled only an 8% pro-life voting record on 79 roll call votes on pro-life issues during his tenure in Congress, according to National Right to Life.
During the 2004 presidential elections, he lent his support to the launch of a NARAL fundraising campaign that collected more than $25 million to elect pro-abortion presidential nominee John Kerry.
Richardson also supports embryonic stem cell research which involves the destruction of human life.
Last November, he said he wanted the New Mexico state legislature to force taxpayers to spend millions of dollars promoting the unproven science. He said he wanted to spend $10 million in state funds to make the University of New Mexico a leader in the controversial field.
He's not saying anything the "Catholic altar boy" John Kerry didn't say in 2004, or that any of the other Democrat candidates, if asked, wouldn't say today.
They don't call 'em the "Evil Party", the "Moloch Party", and the "Party of Death" for nothing.
Ohio Police Officer Charged with Two Murders - Girlfriend and Unborn Child
(Hat tip: Jean at Catholic Fire)
CANTON, Ohio, June 25, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Canton policeman, 30-year old Bobby Cutts Jr., was charged today with the murder of his girlfriend, Jessie Davis. He was also separately charged with a second murder—that of Jessie’s unborn child. Davis was nearly nine months pregnant with a baby girl, due on July 3.My Comments:
Davis’ mother alerted the police after she found her daughter’s 2-year old son alone in a devastated apartment last weekend, the Associated Press (AP) reports. Policemen and thousands of friends participated in a week-long search for the young woman until her remains and those of her unborn child were finally discovered in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on Saturday afternoon.
Unlike Canada, where an unborn child is not considered to be a person, the United States Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA), also known as “Laci and Conner’s Law” (2004), declares that all children “in utero” are considered a second—and distinct—victim of violence in the case of the mother being injured.
The UVVA declares that any person who causes “the death of, or bodily injury to a child who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense,” and will receive the punishment “prescribed by the President for that conduct, had that injury or death occurred to the unborn child’s mother.”
While Cutts has not been charged with a federal crime, he has been charged under a similar Ohiio fetal homicide law. Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director for the National Right to Life Committee informed LifeSiteNews.com that such laws are in effect in 35 of the 50 states. For more information see: http://www.nrlc.org/Unborn_victims/Statehomicidelaws092302.html...
In this double murder case, the laws seems to have educated the media, with several major North American news agencies referring to Davis’ unborn child using typically pro-life terminology. Fox news and the New York Times, for example, used the words “unborn child.” CNN also described the baby as an “unborn child, a girl she (Davis) planned to call Chloe.” ABC referred to Cutts as being charged with “murder in the deaths of Davis and her unborn child”.
Near the place where the body was found, the AP reports, someone posted a sign commemorating the mother as well as her unborn child. The sign read, “God bless you Jessie and Chloe, forever in our hearts.”
See full text of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act http://www.nrlc.org/Unborn_Victims/UVVAEnrolled.pdf
Since the bodies of Jessie Davis and her unborn child, Chloe, were discovered in a national park, the federal Laci and Conner's Law could be applicable here.
Now, I really don't want to make this tragedy political, but it really should be pointed out that most if not all of the current crop of Democrat candidates for President voted against the legislation that made it a separate murder whenever a child in utero dies as the result of the mother being murdered.
So beholden is the Democrat Party to the abortion industry - so unwilling are they to acknowledge even a full-term unborn child (and even one "wanted" by the mother) as a separate "person" - that they voted almost in lockstep against Laci and Conner's Law.
Had it been up to the Democrats, Bobby Cutts, Jr. would be prosecuted for only 1 murder. Maybe the next time all the Democrats come together for one of their sham "faith forums", someone should ask them about that.
Local Ohio Newspaper Editor to Violate Privacy of Firearms Owners
Following the lead of the editors of The Roanoke Times, the editor of one of the local papers in this area, the Sandusky Register, has decided to infringe upon the privacy and security of over 2,600 concealed handgun license holders in several Northern Ohio counties by publishing their names in the Register:
In spite of many state legislators, county sheriffs and even Governor Strickland himself attempting to talk sense into him, Sandusky Register Editor Matt Westerhold has launched an all-out assault on the privacy and security of over 2,600 concealed handgun license holders in several Northern Ohio counties.
Citing a phantom "right to know", Westerhold, editor and self-appointed public records watchdog at the Register, published the list of CHL-holders from Erie, Huron, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties.EDITOR'S NOTE: The decision to make the lists available to readers was made by the Register's managing editor. All inquiries should be directed to 419-609-5866 or email@example.comMatt Westerhold transplanted his anti-concealed-carry agenda from his former job at the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, where he also ordered the publishing of law-abiding CHL-holders' names. More information on Westerhold will be made available in the coming days.
Please oblige Mr. Westerhold by submitting a letter to the editor on this issue.
The "logic" behind his latest attack on gun owners' privacy was expressed in a June 10 editorial entitled "Taking aim at the public record".
Likening the decision to bear arms for self-defense to marriage licenses, court-related divorce records, political donations and salaries of public officials [ED.: I suppose that's an improvement over being likened to sex offenders], the editorial argues that concealed handgun license information should be public record. The editorial repeats a tired, false allegation that "in its present form, the conceal-carry law provides no public checks and balances to assure the gun program is being carried out responsibly." (The editorial omits any mention of the statistics which Ohio's 88 county sheriffs present to the Ohio Attorney General's office four times per year.)
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Catholic Priest Calls for "Snuffing" of Gun Shop Owner and Politicos Who Support 2nd Amendment
Virginia Tells NYC and Bloomberg to Pound Sand
Toledo Blade Editorialist Wants Forcible Dis-Arming of America's Citizenry
To Our European and Australian "Friends" ...
Roanoke Times Columnist Compares Law-Abiding Gun Owners to Sex Offenders, Publishes Their Names and Addresses
Monday, June 25, 2007
Digest of Today's Posts (24 June 2007)
Labels: Digest of Posts
Victory for Public School Teacher (a Catholic) in Ohio Told to Pay Union Dues or Change Religions
From Cybercast News Service:
(CNSNews.com) - A legal challenge mounted by a teacher in southern Ohio, who said a union official told her to pay dues or change religions, has prompted a federal district court to strike down a state law that allowed only those public employees who belonged to certain denominations the right to claim a religious objection to paying union dues.
"It's wonderful, just wonderful," Carol Katter, a mathematics and language arts instructor in the St. Marys district, told Cybercast News Service on Friday after U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost struck down Ohio Revised Code section 4117.09(C) as a violation of her First Amendment rights.
In addition, Frost permanently enjoined the State Employment Relations Board from further enforcing that law, which stated that any public employee who was a member of a "bona fide religion or religious body which has historically held conscientious objections to joining or financially supporting an employee organization ... shall not be required to join or financially support any employee organization."
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the lifelong Catholic and opponent of abortion on demand had always declined membership in the Ohio Education Association, a state chapter of the National Education Association, because she is unhappy with the NEA's stance on abortion.
While discussing the situation with an OEA official, Katter "pretty much pleaded with the lady," saying: "I can't do this. It's against my belief and my conscience. Isn't there anything I can do to just give the money to charity?"
The teacher's request was turned down "basically because I could not come up with proof that my individual church - not the Catholic faith, but my individual church - had a record of anyone having successfully fought a union," she stated.
Katter said the union attorney had then told her she had two choices - pay her dues or "change religions."
Supreme Court Gives Win to Faith-Based Initiatives; Wisconsin Right-to-Life Also Victorious in Free Speech Case
Justices bar taxpayers suits against "faith-based" initiatives:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled today that ordinary taxpayers cannot challenge a White House initiative that helps religious charities get a share of federal money.My Comments:
The 5-4 decision blocks a lawsuit by a group of atheists and agnostics against eight Bush administration officials including the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
The taxpayers' group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc., objected to government conferences in which administration officials encourage religious charities to apply for federal grants.
Taxpayers in the case "set out a parade of horribles that they claim could occur" unless the court stopped the Bush administration initiative, wrote Justice Samuel Alito. "Of course, none of these things has happened."
The justices' decision revolved around a 1968 Supreme Court ruling that enabled taxpayers to challenge government programs that promote religion.
The 1968 decision involved the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which financed teaching and instructional materials in religious schools in low-income areas.
"This case falls outside" the narrow exception allowing such cases to proceed, Alito wrote.
There were a number of other significant decisions today, including a small but significant rollback of a portion of McCain-Feingold. For more on today's rulings see Bench Memos at National Review Online and the SCOTUSblog.
More on the partial rollback of McCain-Feingold and the role played by Wisconsin Right-to-Life:
Court loosens limits on election ads(emphasis added)
(AP) The Supreme Court loosened restrictions Monday on corporate- and union-funded television ads that air close to elections, weakening a key provision of a landmark campaign finance law.
The court, split 5-4, upheld an appeals court ruling that an anti-abortion group should have been allowed to air ads during the final two months before the 2004 elections.
The case involved advertisements that Wisconsin Right to Life was prevented from broadcasting. The ads asked voters to contact the state's two senators, Democrats Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, and urge them not to filibuster President Bush's judicial nominees.
Feingold, a co-author of the campaign finance law, was up for re-election in 2004.
The provision in question was aimed at preventing the airing of issue ads that cast candidates in positive or negative lights while stopping short of explicitly calling for their election or defeat. Sponsors of such ads have contended they are exempt from certain limits on contributions in federal elections.
Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by his conservative allies, wrote a majority opinion upholding the appeals court ruling.
The majority itself was divided in how far justices were willing to go in allowing issue ads.
Three justices, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, would have overruled the court's 2003 decision upholding the constitutionality of the provision.
Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito said only that the Wisconsin group's ads are not the equivalent of explicit campaign ads and are not covered by the court's 2003 decision.
"... joined by his conservative allies ..."
Wait a minute. I thought Justice Kennedy was a "thoughtful, moderate voice" whose "centrist" tendencies made him the perfect replacement for Justice O'Connor as the Court's "all-important swing vote".
Since this decision involved a right-to-life group, I'm surprised AP didn't point out that all 5 Justices voting to strike down the issue ad restrictions were Catholic.
UPDATE # 2
From The Hill:
McCain: 'Regrettable' decisionLook who sided with McCain, and look who sided against him. That ought to serve as some indication of the kinds of Justices that McCain would put on the Court.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday called the Supreme Court’s decision to weaken part of his campaign finance law “regrettable.”
“It is regrettable that a split Supreme Court has carved out a narrow exception by which some corporate and labor expenditures can be used to target a federal candidate in the days and weeks before an election,” McCain said. “It is important to recognize, however, that the Court’s decision does not affect the principal provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which bans federal officeholders from soliciting soft money contributions for their parties to spend on their campaigns.”
Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion that called for striking down any restrictions on corporate and union funded advertising within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election, but their views did not attract majority support.
Even the "centrist" Anthony Kennedy thinks the entire McCain-Feingold boondoggle should be struck down and assigned to the dustbin of history.
NY Times Acknowledges "Pro-Choice" a Loser
A must-read post over at On the Record:
... When the Times is printing columns with titles like "Why Pro-Choice Is a Bad Choice for Democrats," it's time for even the slowest-learning Republicans to take notice. No, it is not clever strategy to nominate a "pro-choice" GOP presidential candidate like Rudy Giuliani. No, the Republicans do not lose votes by clinging to a pro-life platform.
For 30 years, Republicans have been gaining votes by opposing abortion, while Democrats have been losing votes by endorsing the slaughter of the unborn. For the same 30 years, the mass media have been doing their utmost to convince us all that the reverse is true. Now the Times, at least, is giving up. Everybody knows the truth. Everybody, that is, except the Republicans who have been profiting from it.
Could we hear that argument again, please?...a pro-choice Republican nominee would be a gift to the Democrats, because the Republican Party wins over so many swing voters on abortion alone.Did I mention that this is from the New York Times?
Giuliani Leads Among Catholic Republicans, Poll Finds
From Catholic World News:
Washington, Jun. 22, 2007 (CWNews.com) - American Catholics are somewhat more likely than other voters to support Rudy Giuliani in the Republican presidential primary, according to a survey commissioned by the Pew Forum for Religion & Public Life.My Comments:
The Pew Forum found that among likely Democratic voters, Hillary Clinton gains the most support among self-identified Catholics. But the poll found few significant differences between Catholic and Protestant respondents in their judgments on the leading Democratic candidates.
Among the Republican contenders, Giuliani drew the highest level of support among Catholics*. Nearly half-- 49%-- of the Catholic voters said that they were likely to support the former New York mayor, while Giuliani commanded only 30% "likely" support among mainline Protestant respondents and 32% among Evangelical Protestants.
Giuliani easily outdistanced all of his Republican rivals among the Catholics surveyed, with Senator John McCain finishing a distant second with 27% saying there was a "good chance" they would vote for him.
Another 33% of the Catholics said that there was "some chance" that they would cast a primary ballot for Giuliani, giving him a total of 82% who might vote for the avowedly "pro-choice" candidate.
Only 15% of the Catholics surveyed said that there is "no chance" they would vote for Giuliani. Among both mainline Protestant and Evangelical respondents, that figure was 18%.
[shakes head in disgust]
Fortunately, there are other Catholics who aren't so high on Rudy:
Giuliani’s Views on Abortion Upset Catholic Leaders
At first glance, Rudolph W. Giuliani should be an appealing presidential candidate for observant Roman Catholics. The grandchild of Italian immigrants, Mr. Giuliani went to Catholic schools, considered joining the priesthood, and as mayor of New York battled a museum that exhibited a painting of the Virgin Mary adorned in elephant dung.
But church leaders say they are frustrated by prominent Catholic politicians like Mr. Giuliani who argue that while they are personally opposed to abortion, they do not want to impose their beliefs on others.
One American bishop, Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I., recently wrote a caustic column for his Catholic newspaper calling Mr. Giuliani’s position “pathetic,” “confusing” and “hypocritical.” Other bishops said that they would not criticize a candidate by name but would not hesitate to declare Mr. Giuliani’s stance contrary to Catholic teaching.
Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark said: “I think he’s being illogical, as are all of those who take the stand that ‘I’m personally opposed to abortion but this is my public responsibility to permit it.’ To violate human life is always and everywhere wrong. In fact, we don’t think it’s a matter of church teaching, but a matter of the way God made the world, and it applies to everyone.”
Auntie Joanna on The Martyrs' Walk
Read Joanna Bogle's after-action report of the Martyrs' Walk, which took place in London on Saturday to commemorate Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More. If this becomes an annual event, I hope to attend some day.
For more on the Martyrs' Walk, see here, here, and here.
Pope Rebukes Blair, Speaks of "True Conversion"
Maybe we should count the Holy Father among those not convinced by Tony Blair's talk of converting to Catholicism:
The Pope spoke yesterday of the need for “true” conversions to Catholicism a day after rebuking Tony Blair over the war in Iraq and legislation passed during his years in power on abortion, gay adoption, same-sex marriage and stem-cell research.(emphasis added)
The Vatican said that there had been a “frank exchange” on “delicate subjects” during Saturday’s meeting between Benedict XVI and Mr Blair, who is thought to be close to converting to Catholicism. Vatican sources said that the formula used was “the nearest the Vatican comes to referring to a row without using the word”.
Yesterday, as he addressed English-speaking pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said: “Today, as the Church celebrates the birth of St John the Baptist, let us ask for the gift of true conversion and growth in holiness, so that our lives will prepare a way for the Lord and hasten the coming of His Kingdom.”
This could be read as a papal reminder of the need for those considering conversion — even a world figure like Mr Blair — to do so away from publicity.
The Pope wished Mr Blair well on his plans to work for Middle East peace and inter-faith dialogue. The two met privately for 25 minutes and then — in an unusual gesture — were joined by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
The Papal statement also referred to the Pope’s disappointment over Mr Blair’s failure to back the Vatican’s campaign to have a reference to Europe’s Christian roots and values inserted into the EU constitution.
Don't you love how all the media outlets are trying to make the Pope's criticism of Blair all about the Iraq War? Don't get me wrong: I realize that the Holy Father is not pleased with the initial decision to go into Iraq, nor with how things have gone since the invasion began.
But if Iraq were really the sum total of what was bugging the Holy Father, wouldn't the communiques coming from the Vatican following the Pope's meeting with President Bush last week have been equally, if not more, harsh? In fact, Pope Benedict, while sternly criticizing the President on Iraq, had strong words of praise for the President on his record of promoting a culture of life and defending the traditional family. (Instead, all the MSM had to focus on was the President's alleged faux pas in referring to the Pope as "sir".)
No, the Vatican doesn't seem chiefly concerned with Iraq where Tony Blair is concerned. Rather, the Pope seems to be taking issue with the incongruity of Blair's quite public intimations of a conversion to Catholicism while the Blair government has had such a horrendous record, both domestic and international, on matters of import to the Church. (In fact, I would guess that the Holy Father was expressing more concern with the new U.K. Sexual Orientation Regulations and their potential effect on the Church in Britain than he was about Iraq.)
See also the American Papist for the Pope's comments about miracles being "hard to come by in Britain" here and here.
Democrats Set Their Sights on Winning Back Catholics
(Hat tip: Custos Fidei)
From U.S. News & World Report:
... Indeed, having witnessed both George W. Bush's victory among Catholics in 2004 and the Catholic vote's dramatic rejection of Republicans last year, Democrats are now waging a multifront offensive to shore up what was once a bedrock constituency. The Democratic National Committee has hired its first director of Catholic outreach. The DNC is also slated to soon unveil an organizing hub for Catholics on its website, and it's planning to supply state parties with Catholic voter lists before the 2008 election. Catholic Democrats in Congress are introducing legislation to reduce demand for abortion, a top issue for the Roman Catholic Church. And some Democratic presidential candidates are already devising Catholic outreach plans. "You know things have gotten off track when a Roman Catholic candidate has to do outreach to people within his own church," says Senator Casey, discussing his own 2006 outreach effort. "But we're getting it back on track now." With Catholics accounting for 1 in 5 American voters, the mobilization could determine whether Democrats win the White House and keep control of Congress in 2008.(emphasis added)
"Catholics are ideal targets" for Democrats courting religious voters, says University of Akron political scientist John Green. Many Catholics are political centrists, unlike overwhelmingly conservative evangelical Christians. Catholics also tend to be less observant than evangelicals and so are less likely to tow the church line politically. What's more, the Catholic Church's promotion of social welfare programs and its opposition to war (including Iraq) dovetails with the Democratic Party platform.
But Catholics face cross-pressures from their church to oppose abortion and gay marriage, pushing them closer to the GOP. In 2004, a handful of Catholic bishops denounced Democratic nominee John Kerry's pro-abortion-rights position; one said he'd deny Kerry, a Catholic, the Eucharist. Kerry lost white Catholics—who make up the vast majority of the Catholic community—to Bush by 56 to 43 percent. By contrast, the only Catholic ever elected president, John F. Kennedy, won nearly 80 percent of the Catholic vote. Analysts blame Kerry's weak showing among Catholics largely on his unassertive response to the bishops' attacks.
As the 2006 election cycle got underway, a Democratic consulting firm called Common Good Strategies emerged, and new liberal religious groups like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good worked in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas to prevent a few conservative bishops and the GOP from defining the "values" debate. "Before that, religious voters felt they had no place to go that was not right of center," says Network's Campbell, who helped frame affordable healthcare and opposition to the Iraq war as values issues. Common Good Strategies enlisted nuns to do phone banking, while Casey delivered a major speech on faith and politics at the Catholic University of America. He wound up winning 58 percent of the white Catholic vote, even though he was challenging Sen. Rick Santorum, an antiabortion Catholic.
"... new liberal religious groups like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good worked in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas to prevent a few conservative bishops and the GOP from defining the "values" debate."
Yeah, with the aid of the editors of The Catholic Chronicle just days before the November 2006 general election. The disappearance of the story from the Chronicle's web site within hours of its publication indicates to me that Bishop Blair did not approve. Many readers of the Chronicle didn't think much of it, either.
Another Negative Blog Rating - No Kids Allowed
First, it was the rating I got from SOV2 "Catholic" Faith Community. And now this:
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
>abortion (30x) >death (11x) >gay (5x) >bastard (1x)*
(Hat tip: Fr. Richtsteig at Orthometer)
* I know for a fact that the word "bastard" appears on this blog more than once. In fact, it appears in every post I've ever written about that Castro-loving commie bastard™ Hugo Chavez.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Nativist Know-Nothing Seeks End to Pro-Life "Mexico City" Policy
Publius links to the details of a Republican Congressman who is playing on anti-immigration passions to push population control and end the Mexico City policy.
If only those Catholics would just stop having kids.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Feast of St. Thomas More (22 June)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Digest of Today's Posts (21 June 2007)
(Digest of Yesterday's Posts (20 June 2007))
Labels: Digest of Posts
A Man For All Seasons: Tomorrow (22 June) Is The Feast Day of St. Thomas More
“…it would be hard to find anyone who was more truly a man for all seasons and all men…”~ Erasmus, 1521
Tomorrow - 22 June - is the feast day of St. Thomas More, martyr and patron of lawyers, civil servants, politicians, statesmen, "difficult marriages" (and this blog).
As he went to his death, ordered beheaded by Henry VIII for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy declaring the King head of the Church in England, More humbly stated that he would die "the King's good servant, and God's first."
From the Patron Saints Index:
Memorial: 22 JuneA Prayer to St. Thomas More:
Profile: Studied at London and Oxford. Page for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lawyer. Twice married, father of one son and three daughters, and a devoted family man. Writer. Friend of King Henry VIII. Lord Chancellor of England, a position of power second only to the king. Opposed the king on the matter of royal divorce, and refused to swear the Oath of Supremacy which declared the king the head of the Church in England. Resigned the Chancellorship, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to the king's political needs.
Born: 1478 at London, England
Died: beheaded in 1535; head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England; body at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England
Canonized: 1935 by Pope Pius XI
Patronage: adopted children, diocese of Arlington Virginia, civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida, politicians, politicos, statesmen, step-parents, widowers
Thomas More, counselor of law and patron of statesmen, merry martyr and most human of saints:Quotes:
Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be able in argument, accurate in analysis, keen in study, correct in conclusion, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, trustworthy with confidences, courageous in court. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul.
Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain -- their good servant, and God's first.
"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."
"What does it avail to know that there is a God, which you not only believe by Faith, but also know by reason: what does it avail that you know Him if you think little of Him?"
"The things that we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labour for."~ Saint Thomas More
From the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group:
Thomas More, Knight, Lord Chancellor of England, author and martyr, Lay Franciscan
Beheaded in 1535; head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England; body at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England Beatified in 1886;
Canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 as the "Martyr of the Papacy"
Commemorated June 22, feast day formerly on July 6 (with fellow martyr, St. John Fisher)
Patronage: adopted children, civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, politicians, statesmen, step-parents, widowers
In art: English Lord Chancellor carrying a book; English Lord Chancellor carrying an axe
SAINT THOMAS MORE, Martyr (1480-1535)
Saint Thomas More, born in 1480, was the precocious and amiable son of an English magistrate. Very well educated and brilliant, when he was placed at the age of fifteen in the household of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he soon attracted the Archbishop's attention, and was sent by him to study at Oxford. He debated interiorly for a long time as to whether he should become a priest, but decided otherwise with the approbation of his director.
The practice of civil law was not enough to absorb all his time or energy. The author of the famous satire "Utopia," wrote poetry while still young, in both English and Latin. He had completely mastered Latin, as he had also the Greek tongue, "by an instinct of genius," as one of his preceptors said. Saint Thomas in 1505 married a virtuous and beloved wife who, after bearing four children, three daughters and a son, died six years later. His second wife, older than himself, took excellent care of the household and of the children; but it was said she could not grasp the sense of her husband's subtle humor, which was a characteristic trait of his cheerful disposition.
Saint Thomas came under suspicion by King Henry VII when he strove in the Parliament to reduce the burden of excessive taxes which the people bore, though he never spoke against the king. But his capacities were appreciated, and when Henry VII died, his 18-year-old son, who was to become Henry VIII in 1509, showed him great favor during the first twenty years of his reign. Saint Thomas was knighted in 1521, and was made Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523, High Steward of Cambridge University in 1525, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the same year. Nonetheless, the king's protege foresaw what could easily happen to anyone who did not agree with his sovereign; he said to his son-in-law in 1525, "If my head could win him a castle in France, it would not fail to go." In effect, when in 1530 the order was issued to the clergy to acknowledge Henry as "Supreme Head of the Church, insofar as the law of God would permit," Saint Thomas immediately resigned as Lord Chancellor.
His resignation was not accepted. Two years later, in May 1532, after he had lost the royal favor on several counts — his reticence concerning the king's divorce, his non-attendance at the king's illegal marriage, and his formal non-recognition of any future children of Henry and Anne Bolyn as rightful heirs to the throne — he was permitted to retire. The king, the apostate Archbishop Cranmer, and Anne Bolyn were all excommunicated in that year.
Saint Thomas lived in retirement from the age of 52, his revenues considerably diminished, and his health somewhat uncertain. When the king decided to require of the laity, as well as of the clergy, the oath supporting his alleged "supremacy," he wanted to obtain first of all the signature of Thomas More, to make of him an example. The Saint declined to sign the oath and thereby brought upon himself a sentence of incarceration in the Tower of London, and a short time afterwards, of death. He was beheaded in 1535, after having said, with his ordinary humor, that "he did not consider the severing of his head from his body as a circumstance that should produce any change in the disposition of his mind."
Saint Thomas while in retirement continued to write a number of religious treatises of great value, including an unfinished one on the Passion. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and canonized by Pius XI in 1935, with Cardinal John Fisher, who was martyred like himself in the same year and for the same reasons. That year was the 400th anniversary of their death.
"These things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us Thy grace to labor for." --Saint Thomas More.
More on St. Thomas More at:
Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, naming St. Thomas More the patron of politicians and statesmen
Saint Thomas More - Open Directory Project (links to practically everything you'd want to know about St. Thomas More)
Center for Thomas More Studies
Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) - Luminarium
St. Thomas More on The Franciscan Archive
St. Thomas More on the Patron Saints Index
The St. Thomas More Web Site
Thomas More Online
Sir Thomas More - Oregon State University Philosophy Dept.
Thomas More Law Center
Thomas More Society
The St. Thomas More Society
Amici Thomae Mori
The Life of St. Thomas More by William Roper
Saint Thomas More - The King's good servant but God's first! (The Angelus)
"Thomas More For Our Season" by Judge Robert Bork
Saint Thomas More: A Father for All Seasons - Essay on Thomas More as a model Christian father
A Man For All Seasons (DVD available from Amazon.com)
A Man For All Seasons Study Site
Thomas More's England: A Guide Book (hat tip: Rich Leonardi)
Chelsea Old Church - Sir Thomas More
Prayer to St. Thomas More for Conversion of Pro-Abortion Politicians
Litany of St. Thomas More, Martyr and Patron Saint of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers
Prayers of St. Thomas More (Psalm on Detachment; A Devout Prayer Before Dying)
Additional Blog Links:
Martyrs' Walk (sponsored by the Continuity Movement)
"Martyrs Walk Schedule Saturday 23rd June 2007" by Catholic Mom of 10
"Words of Inspiration from St. Thomas More" by Catholic Fire
"June 22: Feast of St. Thomas More" by V for Victory
"Saints Thomas More And John Fisher" by Recta Ratio
"Saint Thomas More : A Father for All Seasons" by Catholic Dads
"Tomb of St. Thomas More...", "Tomb of St. Thomas More..., "Where St. Thomas More Died" by Orbis Catholicvs
"More's Little Office" by Ten Reasons
"Two Catholic Guys" by Abbey Roads II
"Saints John Fisher and Thomas More" by Vultus Christi
"St. Thomas More, pray for us" by The Curt Jester
"St. Thomas More, Patron Saint of Lawyers" by Fumare
"Lectio from the Office of Ss John Fisher & Thomas More" by The Crescat
"For the feast of Sts. Thomas More & John Fisher" by Bethune Catholic
"Feast of St. Thomas More" by Maior autem his est caritas
"Meditation on Integrity" by Catholic Sensibility
"Give me thy grace, good Lord: To set the world at nought" by What Does the Prayer Really Say?
Archbishop Chaput: The Time for Behind-The-Scenes Diplomacy with Politicians Is Over
NEW MEXICO, June 21, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - At a meeting of US Catholic Bishops in New Mexico this week, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke with the Associated Press about dealing with Catholic pro-abortion politicians in the upcoming 2008 election. "I think being more aggressive, more assertive doesn't in any way violate the principles we have to follow," said the Archbishop, referring to laws regulating involvement of charitable institutions in politics.
In his remarks to AP Chaput noted that revisions were necessary in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document on Catholic involvement in politics, called Faithful Citizenship. He said that the current wording has failed to stress the primacy of abortion, that it is a "foundational" issue. The current document, he said, has been "used by Democrats who want to downplay the issue of abortion because of their party politics."
According to AP the document is up for revision in November.
See the AP coverage here:
The Next Supreme Court Vacancy
Ed Whelan writes at National Review Online that "there’s plenty of room to confirm another strong justice":
If a Supreme Court vacancy unexpectedly develops this summer, the conventional wisdom is that President Bush will find it extremely difficult or impossible to get a strong proponent of judicial restraint confirmed by the Senate. Now that Senate Democrats are in the majority, the thinking goes, they can easily defeat any judicial conservative, especially if the nominee is replacing one of the five justices who are consistent (Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer) or frequent (Kennedy) votes for liberal judicial activism. Look, after all, at how they’re now able to block the President’s lower-court nominees whenever they want to.My Comments:
This conventional wisdom is unsound. Briefly put: Under long-established Senate practice, every Supreme Court nominee is afforded an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. A departure from that practice would threaten to impose severe political costs on Senate Democrats. In a competently run confirmation campaign, a strong proponent of judicial restraint will win majority approval in the Senate, with votes to spare.
...Democrats won their majority position in the Senate by running unconventional candidates like pro-lifer Bob Casey in Pennsylvania. But the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee tilt heavily to the far left ideological base of the party, and no nominee worthy of a Supreme Court spot has any realistic prospect of winning a single Democratic vote in committee. (When their votes didn’t matter and when they were positioning to defeat the next nominee, three Democrats voted for Chief Justice Roberts in committee; none voted for Alito.) Neither Democrats generally nor the dozen or more individual Democrats presenting themselves to their constituencies as moderates can afford to let the likes of Teddy Kennedy and Chuck Schumer decide the fate of a Supreme Court nominee.
...The Democrats have the narrowest of margins in the Senate — 51 to 49 — and a quality nominee should hold all or nearly all Republicans. It’s also easy to identify plenty of possible Democratic votes. Start, for example, with the four Democrats who voted for Alito — Byrd (West Virginia), Conrad (North Dakota), Johnson (South Dakota), and Ben Nelson (Nebraska). Look to other Democrats in “red” states, especially those who are running for reelection in 2008 — two, Landrieu (Louisiana) and Pryor (Arkansas), are prime targets. And add in newly elected moderate (or moderate-posing) senators like Casey (Pennsylvania) and Tester (Montana). There’s simply no reason to think that a strong proponent of judicial restraint won’t earn the votes to be confirmed.
President Bush’s appointments of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito are perhaps his greatest domestic achievements. If another vacancy develops, President Bush can enrich his legacy with another outstanding appointment or jeopardize it by an inferior selection. The choice will be his, and no one should mistakenly believe that the bare Democratic majority in the Senate prevents him from selecting another strong proponent of judicial restraint.
While I think Whelan is exactly right on the substance (especially were Bush to nominate a minority female with a compelling life story, like Janice Rogers Brown), all this speculation about another Supeme Court vacancy is just wishful thinking. The liberal justices all know that Bush and the Republicans are on the ropes, and none of them will step down until they know the White House is "safely" in Democrat hands.
I'm afraid Bush won't get a 3rd bite at the Supreme Court apple. But I'd sure love to be wrong about that.