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September 14, 2005


Patrick Rothwell

That particular quote from JFK's Houston speech is one of the least objectionable portions of that particular speech. I would say the same thing as Roberts because I do not agree with every public policy statement that comes down from the Vatican (Pope or Curia) or the USCCB. No one else does either. We can argue endlessly about whether a public policy stance is binding or not, or a prudential judgment or not. Roberts need not and ought not explore that tendentious internal Catholic debate at a Senate confirmation hearing. Thus, his answer, "I agree with that Senator, yes" addresses the question honestly with the consideration that it deserves and no more. Good job, John Roberts.

Mark Windsor

New sign over doors of SCOTUS:

"Abandon hope, all ye who enter here."


I can't understand why it's okay that the religious faith of a court nominee is fair game for interrogation. I mean, I understand Specter and his pals at NARAl are seeking evidence of potential and actual thoughtcrimes, (i.e., Roe), but I am more disappointed that there is nary a peep of dismay among the self-proclaimed first amendment warriors in the media on this intrusion into a man's soul.


You guys are missing the point and will see when Roberts gets on the Court. He's ducking and weaving and dancing around the questions; and he's doing it awfully well. Senator Hatch was asked what Roberts had said about Roe v. Wade, after the session. He said, "Nothing." And that's exactly right. That's what he said about how his Catholicism affects his legal obligations, too: Nothing.

Roberts isn't making his confirmation a Crusade, nor should he. He's parrying attempts to make political hay and block his confirmation. None of this has ANYTHING to do with substance. And everything he's said leaves LOTS of room for him to be exactly the kind of judge we want him to be. I don't think he'd be taking so much trouble to make sure those doors were left open unless he intended to be just that. I for one am greatly heartened. Wait for his record to appear and then you can say, "Jeff told me so!"

"Who's next?" is the question of the day.

Pierre Angulaire

Nothing in Roberts' background or public record indicates that he is some stealth "pro-life" nominee. I take him at his word when he says that he has no agenda (or if you like, personal beliefs) even on issues like abortion that would control his decision-making.

The interesting question is what changes in society, medicine, and the law would have to happen to convince someone as cautious as Roberts that Roe v. Wade should no longer be followed, and the time had come for a new ruling by the Supreme Court on the states' power to regulate or prohibit aborton?

It is those changes that will convince him, not his a priori religious faith or pressure from academics or the "Communion police" in the hierarchy.

Rich Leonardi

I'm more or less with Patrick Rothwell on this. Given the viper's nest he faced yesterday, any extended discussion of his allegiance to the Church's hierarchy to teachings would have been pointless or dangerous.

JFK's quip became a cause for concern only later when Catholics in his party used it to justify their indifference or hostility to those teachings.

When they addressed them at all it was only to blur the distinction between what is binding and nonbinding. Witness last year's "social justice scorecard."


I think his answer is awful, although I have to admit I know of no other way he could have answered and still been confirmed.

I'm cool with the evasiveness, and good for him for not letting himself be trapped.

But if he's lying to get the nomination, then that's a sin. And if his "Kennedy" answer is the truth, even worse!

(This, among many other reasons, is why I am never going to make it to the Supreme Court.)

James Freeman

The upshot seems to be this: It's OK to be Clintonian so long as you're not Bill Clinton.

Abortion will go away when pro-lifers quit drinking the GOP Kool-Aid and start being intellectually and spiritually serious. For example, thinking about how, exactly, does one radically remake a post-Christian culture.

THAT'S the core issue.

Kissing politicians' arses and acting like Duplicitous S***s for Jesus is not going to cut it. Either here or in the Hereafter.

Rant ended, thankyouverymuch.


Sen Specter: "Judge Roberts, JFK spewed out some gibberish 40-some years ago that no one can make any sense of. Would you say that what he said reflects your views?"

Judge Roberts: "Yeah, sure, whatever."

And he's going to hell for this? Lighten up.


James Freeman,

Just what ivory tower do you live in?

John Roberts doesn't and as a consequence he can influence public policy. In the real world.


These proceedings are making it ever clearer to me that the government is not going to end abortion. I think James is right. We have to remake society ourselves, one heart at a time. It's the only hope, Divine intervention aside. Place not your trust in princes, and what not.


I am with you, James and Jason.


I am not too troubled as I think he's bobbing and weaving to avoid fillibuster as well.

I also think that a SCOTUS judge is not asked to determine whether a law (or action, etc) is morally reprehensible, but is asked whether such action, by the state, an individual or an organization is permissible under the Constitution. He doesn't necessarily put his religious beliefs in a box and set it aside, but it is not the basis of determining constitutionality. If he thinks something is morally reprehensible in his own view and thinks it should be prohibited, he still must find support for his view in the Constitution. The Constitution does contain some consideration of "values" of our society, that may come into play as well. There is plenty of legal thought on the left and the right that Roe was bad law. So, Roberts need not rely solely on his own Catholic view (assuming it is his view) that abortion must be regulated and limited or illegal alltogether; he can find constitutional basis for permitting states to regulate abortion, which would be an improvement as well from the current status quo.

David Kubiak

I cannot agree that to be Clintonian for virtuous purposes is sinful. I would put it in the "be clever as serpents" scriptural category. Nor do I think that Judge Roberts is a self-conscious Guy Fawkes plotting to blow up the Supreme Court. But he knows what he can and cannot say in order to be confirmed. "I do not speak for the Church or the Church for me" might come from a pious Catholic who dislikes the Novus Ordo. I keep being reminded of Thomas More, in that everything I have seen of what Judge Roberts has said goes as far as it can go to please the King, but never steps over the line of what is impossible for someone who holds the Catholic Faith.

It is just very hard for me to read about the kind of Catholic life he has led and not think that he is serious about it. One might wonder if Senators Kennedy, Leahy, and Biden can add two and two, but Roberts is so toweringly bright that if his view of the Church and its claims were theirs surely he would sleep in on Sundays.

His supporters could be proven wrong, obviously, but from my vantage point he looks like a very virtuous man.


James Freeman:

Most of your post was offensive, but "Duplicitous S***s for Jesus" is just plain blasphemous.


I'm very nervous about Judge Roberts. He has said and done a number of things that suggest that he would not vote to overturn Roe and has not, to my knowledge, done anything to suggest the contrary. The two main pro-Roe indications are: 1. His testimony that he does not have a problem with the Griswold case, which established the so-called right to privacy by holding that a State cannot outlaw contraception. Most people who buy the legitimacy of Griswold buy the legitimacy of Roe, and vice versa. 2. His pro bono work for a gay rights group on the case in which the Supreme Court held that the people of the State of Colorado could not forbid local governments from enacting "homosexual rights." Both these things are significant. What of significance do we know that suggests he is anti-Roe? His background does suggest a probability that he is pro-life -- one might assume that a politically conservative Catholic male with a pro-life wife would be pro-life. But he has not done or said anything that confirms this, and he has said and done some things that suggest the contrary.

James Freeman

Happy to have offended you, Chris 2-4.

Getting offended is a lot easier than actually thinking about stuff, innit?


Thought about it. I'm no longer offended. I just think you're dead wrong. (Or is that just the Kool-aid talking) Funny how disagreeing with you means we're not thinking.

But the other part (which was my main point)was still blasphemous.


My husband and I were done educated a bit (Amy's "lawyers" will laugh) after watching it and having to look up STARRY DECISES! We really liked Arlen's sandwich board too.

See, dumb catholics read blogs too.

James Freeman

Chris 2-4,

Actually, your characterizing "Duplicitous S***s for Jesus" as blasphemous is heretical.

Think about it. Original sin, the need for grace and all that rot.

To the extent that Christians act in a Clintonian manner -- and we're all Clintonian to some extent -- we indeed are "Duplicitous S***s for Jesus."

I DEMAND that you repent of this heresy!

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