Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Religion of the Justices
Mike Rappaport

I suppose it was inevitable that liberal opponents of the Supreme Court's decision would attempt to focus on the fact that the five Justices in the majority were Catholics.  This column in the New York Times is an example, as was the post by Geoff Stone at the American Constitution Society Blog.   A more sensible piece was written by Jan Crawford Greenburg.

This focus on the Justices' religion strikes me as a dangerous path to take.  It creates religious dissension,  and as a liberal strategy is as likely as unlikely to have the effects that the liberals desire.  But a decision against abortion seems to cause people to lose perspective, and they will want to lash out. 

As an originalist, I would also ask the liberals what they expect from their nonoriginalist philosophy?  If judges are allowed to depart from the original meaning, then they will consider their policy views and people's religious views affect their policy views.  This is not to say that that occurred in this case, only that a nonoriginalist judicial practice makes it more likely.

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Religion of the Justices
Mike Rappaport


If I understand you correctly, you are saying that when you depart from a principled theory of Constitutional interpretation and make the leap into unguided interpretation, you have no grounds to criticize any one's rulings. To do so would be hypocritical since one unguided interpretation is as good as another. I like it.

Here the (alleged) fact that five of the justices happened to follow Catholic principles is no worse than the other four following their own feelings in making up the law. Of course, the five can also point to their structured jurisprudence, but that wouldn't fit the left's meme.

Posted by: cliff | Apr 26, 2007 4:21:00 AM

All the left has done here is raise my estimation of Catholics.
I will lower myself into the sewer of leftists thinking, for which they will not yet have aquired the confidence to speak through polling data, and what is to be seen? 62 million Catholics, roughly 20% of the population, unaffirmative action would give us two Supreme Court Justices, providing an over-representations by 250%. Sounds like a conspiracy, a cabal, a masonic type excercise through the Pope, Republicans, or a new world order.

Posted by: james wilson | Apr 26, 2007 7:15:02 AM

I'm glad I read those articles. Just think, all this time, I thought Rosie O'Donnell was intelligent (and skinny).

Posted by: David C. Brayton | Apr 26, 2007 1:09:44 PM