Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We're off to Rome to see the Pope.


There's been a bunch of debate bouncing around the intertubes and the more traditional media about the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion focused on the make religious make-up of the majority in that opinion and what it means towards future cases before the court. Predictably; those that pooh-pooh each an every other claim of discrimination in our society are the first to trot out the discrimination defense when they feel the least bit wronged. In this case they're screaming that those who point out that the five majority members in that decision are catholic are somehow displaying an anti-catholic bigotry.

The well that those that defend the majority justices seem to always dip from is that of John Kennedy and his run for the presidency. Kennedy faced a lot of public criticism, mostly from protestant Evangelicals in a not so ironic twist, that a catholic president would be beholding to Rome if he were elected. In a 1959 Look magazine interview he responded to this criticism directly -


"Whatever one's religion in private life may be, for the office-holder, nothing takes precedence over his oath to uphold the Constitution and all its parts – including the First Amendment and the strict separation of church and state."

President Kennedy was flatly stating that his duty to the constitution would come before his duty to his religious beliefs. The criticism directed at the five catholic members of the court after the Carhart decision is that they were inverting that equation.
Finally- putting all that aside and focusing on diversity. Many of us do want the court to be more diverse but not under the simplistic equation religious conservatives have held us to. A female conservative, a black conservative and an Italian-American conservative do no diversity make. What we need on the USSC is intellectual diversity. Five of any group that subscribe strictly to a narrow, ideologically binding religious worldview is counterproductive towards those ends.

8 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

It is worth noting that our five Catholic Justices have diverged sharply from both past and present Vatican views when it suited them, namely the war with Iraq and our own human rights violations in Guantanamo and elsewhere. Their silence and ignorance of the Constitution and what it means is deafening.

Don Snabulus said...

That applies to the other four as far as that goes...

Overdroid said...

Damn straight! Let's get an atheist up there. Oh wait, they'd probably get killed by a xian holy warrior.

ladybug said...

Scalia was was the speaker at my college graduation.....

I didn't know who the hell he was at the time, and didn't even listen.

I was daydreaming about what a nice day it was to graduate in the Mission Gardens and what my friends and I would be doing in 5 years...

Scalia's a scale from the behind of lowest demon from Hades. He wouldn't know the Constitution from a Buddhist prayer scarf...he basically is nothing more than a back-scratcher for those that appointed him.

Dean Wormer said...

Don,

Thanks for reminding me of that. Like many more conservative catholics they're cafeteria catholics on issues dear to their heart but suddenly find religion, ahem, when it effects others.

Droid,

We should make Tom Cruise a justice.

Dean Wormer said...

Scalia's a scale from the behind of lowest demon from Hades. He wouldn't know the Constitution from a Buddhist prayer scarf...he basically is nothing more than a back-scratcher for those that appointed him.

Sometimes he does their fronts...

:-)

Swinebread said...

loyalty to the neo-cons is what I’m worried about

Aaron said...

I saw Reinhard was one of those attacking "anti-catholic bias" among critics of Carhart. What a hypocrite.

Scalia is quite scary. He seems to display two trends in his opinions, both of which probably stem from his religion. He believes that notions of "traditional Western values" should be applied to Constitutional decision making. This is his rationale for upholding, for example, sodomy laws. But by inserting his subjective view of what these values are, he is being as much an activist as the liberal justices he often derides.

Secondly, Scalia is very authoritarian. In any conflict between the government and citizens, Scalia almost always sides with the government. To me, this bias seems to go against the grain of American history.


One final thought, Dean. I don't think your description of Clarence Thomas as a "conservative" was quite accurate. I don't get the impression that he thinks enough to be labled a conservative, liberal or anything else. "I concur with Justice Scalia" seems to be the extent of his legal thinking.