Thursday, July 28, 2005

SCOTUS blogging 

At the risk of getting way in over my head, not being a lawyer, I nonetheless feel compelled to make an observation about the Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court and the related references to his Catholicism. I am not Catholic either, so I'm just watching is all.

Much is being made about his Catholicism and there were Senator Durbin's remarks, or question, which purportedly wondered whether Roberts's Catholicism would "get in the way" of his judicial decisions.

Here's the inane part of this entire discussion. It's not as though Roberts is the first Catholic to be appointed to the Supreme Court. I tried to get a full historical list of SCOTUS Catholics. I couldn't find one. All I could find was that there are today 3 on the Court: Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy. I also found that William Brennan, a noted liberal judge, was recently on the SC. Finally, I found that the first Catholic justice was named in...1836!.

Listen, it's sufficiently offensive that in our supposedly tolerant country, whenever there's the possibility of a "first" - first black, first hispanic, first jew, first woman, first mormon, blah blah blah - it's written about as though a huge asteroid might be hitting the planet.

But there have been umpty ump Catholics who have operated just fine on the SCOTUS. Since 1836! We've had a Catholic president. Can we please get over ourselves? It's absurd. And I'm sorry, if anybody thinks it isn't a form of prejudice to say they mistrust someone born and yes, practicing, a particular religion, then that person is deluding themselves. What's Roberts going to say in answer to the question? It's offensive.

I have little sense as to whether this fellow will be a great SCOTUS justice or not. His credentials are as good as they get, however. He seems like a solid citizen. Ask the questions in the senate that must be asked. But leave his religion alone. It's a toxic topic to debate and antithetical to quintessentially American principles of religious tolerance.


By Blogger Jehane, at Thu Jul 28, 07:25:00 PM:

Good Lord CardinalPark.

I'm not a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV. TH magnimously refrains from making fun of me while I make a damned fool of myself day in and day out over at VC.

The law was made for all of us. My take is this: ordinary people get to try and participate. We won't always get it right. But I'll be damned if I'll be intimidated into abstaining from the fray by a bunch of overeducated wienies who get it wrong most of the time anyway.

Go ahead TH, laugh at me :) I'm used to it my now - I dutifully show up here every day to give you a dose of levity. And honestly, I really *am* in awe of you, Charlottesvillian, and Cardinalpark. I don't always comment much because at 4 am I'm still braindead. But I take it all on board and I really appreciate the quality of what you all provide.

Compared to you guys, most of what I do is overheated blather :) Amusing at times, but blather all the same.  

By Blogger Jehane, at Thu Jul 28, 07:29:00 PM:

And on the substance of your post, I believe spirit of the Establishment Clause prohibits using religion (and ESPECIALLY membership in a SPECIFIC church) as a litmus test for holding public office. If I were better educated or weren't so tired, I'd give you a cite.

That is, after all, precisely why our ancestors came over here, is it not? Catholics, in particular, were targets of religious persecution.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Thu Jul 28, 08:45:00 PM:


To your point, it used to be that you didn't have to be a lawyer to be a judge on the SCOTUS -- way back when of course. But that was before the lawyer's union took over...

Just bein' modest is all.

And you're right, the Constitution is explicit on the no religious test bit. Of course, I don't think Durbin read the Constitution. Come to think of it, I wonder if he can read...  

By Blogger Jehane, at Fri Jul 29, 01:06:00 PM:

And it's Article 6, by the way - which prohibits the requiring of religious oaths.

And I have the same doubts re: durbin.  

By Blogger Greg, at Sun Jul 31, 12:45:00 AM:

Echoing somewhat Cassandra's doubts about Little Dickie Durbin... Of course Robert's Catholicism won't get in the way of his judicial decisions. My proof? Idiocy hasn't gotten in Little Dickie's way of being a Senator.  

By Blogger hiro, at Thu Oct 06, 02:18:00 PM:

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