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THE VIEW FROM PAEONIAN SPRINGS
Five Catholics on the Supreme Court
Is this diversity or domination by the papacy?

by Michael H. Thomson
November 2, 2005

In my article on Harriet Miers, I said there was nothing wrong with the court having an evangelical Christian church lady to add to its diversity. Little did I know that once the Miers nomination was sadly withdrawn, our president, George W. Bush, would make a future nomination that would end diversity on the court, as we know it.
 
With the nomination of Samuel Alito and his most probable confirmation, the United States Supreme Court will be packed with Roman Catholics. The five justices – which include Chief Justice John Roberts – will give Roman Catholics a 5-4 majority on the court.  This is very disturbing considering that Roman Catholics represent less than a quarter of this country's religious population.
 
In 2004, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops created a task force to deal with recalcitrant Roman Catholic politicians. This task force is led by Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick who runs herd over 150 Catholics in the U.S. Congress. If the Roman Catholic Church, which is always synonymous with Rome and the Pope, is committed to disciplining and pushing its agenda with elected Roman Catholic officials, does it stop pushing its agenda with Roman Catholic judges?
 
Right wing conservatives in the Republican Party are jubilant with the Alito nomination because of his stance on the omnipresent litmus test for potential justices: Roe vs. Wade.  If Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned – which it might – Roman Catholic influence on the court will still be present for many years. Pressure on these judges from the Vatican will be constant. As I've always said, there are other issues facing the court other than Roe vs. Wade. With a Catholic majority on the court, some future decisions of that body may be filtered through a papal prism. Let's look at the Roman Catholic Church and some of its issues.
 
The Child Sex Abuse Scandal - The Roman Catholic Church has been in the news over the past few years because of the scandal of pedophile priests. Several Bishops - notably former Boston Archbishop, Cardinal Bernard Law have deliberately hidden pedophile priests from the long arm of justice. The Roman Catholic Church has paid out over one billion dollars in settlements to the victims of these criminal priests. Many of these cases are still pending. Some might even reach the Supreme Court. A court soon to be dominated by a Roman Catholic majority.
 
Immigration – At a time when this country is drowning from an influx of illegal aliens, the Roman Catholic Church has launched an initiative entitled Justice For Immigrants  that among other things proposes legislation that would grant amnesty to the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in this country. With attendance down, illegal immigrants filling the pews are a welcome addition to the church. Some extreme Roman Catholic groups aid and abet illegal immigrants who enter the country. Undoubtedly, many of these illegal immigration issues will arrive at the door of a Roman Catholic dominated U.S. Supreme Court.
 
Contraception – Although many Roman Catholics practice contraception in their family planning decisions, the Roman Catholic Church and its pope are foursquare against any kind of contraception. There have been efforts in the past by the Church to legislate against  legal efforts that would promote contraception – even for the prevention of AIDS. Will these issues ever appear at the steps of a predominantly Roman Catholic U.S. Supreme Court? In 1968, Pope Paul VI reemphasized that it is wrong to use contraception to prevent new humans from coming into existence. The Church has been stalwart in this position even in countries that are struggling with overpopulation.
 
The Death Penalty – Death penalty issues always come before the Supreme Court. The Pope and his bishops are opposed to the death penalty. The last pope even made personal appeals to certain American politicians to stay executions.  Will five Roman Catholic U.S. Supreme Court justices go against their pope?
 
Gays – While the Roman Catholic Church has an official position against homosexuality, in practice this is much different.  It is estimated that as many as thirty percent of Roman Catholic priests may be gay. Even more, including many bishops may be homosexually oriented. When gay issues reach the Supreme Court, what kind of subtle pressures may be expected from certain bishops and archbishops on Roman Catholic justices?
 
So how Roman Catholic are the justices who now comprise a majority on the court?
 
Clarence Thomas – Justice Thomas was raised a Catholic and after a period, left the Church and became an Episcopalian. Recently after much soul-searching, Clarence Thomas has returned to the Roman Catholic Church.
 
Anthony M. Kennedy – is described as being a "devout" adherent to the Catholic faith.
 
John Roberts – The new chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court attended Catholic schools and is a life long Catholic.  His wife is a trustee of the Roman Catholic college, Holy Cross.
 
Antonin Scalia – Justice Scalia attended Catholic high school and graduated from Catholic, Georgetown University. Justice Scalia is a devout practicing Roman Catholic.
 
Samuel Alito – Raised in a strong Italian Roman Catholic family, Alito like Justice Thomas briefly left the Church but has rejoined it. His 90-year-old mother was recently asked about his views on abortion.  She said, "He is against abortion," Rose Alito continued, "We both are." She said her son "still carries his Roman Catholic values with him. He is a very ordinary person, very conservative."
 
As I said in my Harriet Miers piece, I am a proponent of diversity. I thought George Bush was as well. In his recent court appointee decisions, he has packed the court with adherents of a religion that controls and manipulates politicians, not just in the United States, but also all over the world. The Roman Catholic Church is truly a "one world" organization. Sixteen percent of its priests in the United States were born outside of the United States. Thirty percent of its newly ordained priests were born outside the United States – most from the third world.

Diversity is great. Dominance - particularly of our court system - can be disastrous!

Additional Reading: Should The U.S. Deport Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney?


About the Author:
Mike Thomson has a Roman Catholic heritage and means no offense to individual Roman Catholics including his wife.


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