Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
Expect this video clip of Sonia Sotomayor describing the importance of the circuit court of appeals in policy-making to get a lot of play in the coming weeks.
One thing the Supreme Court Sotomayor pick tells us is that Obama’s recent talk promising to find common ground was just talk.
The Puerto Rican from the Bronx who went to Catholic schools is Obama’s pick to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court.
As Americans United for Life (AUL)‘s president Charmaine Yoest points out:
“For all the President’s talk of finding ‘common ground,’ this appointment completely contradicts that hollow promise. Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy undermines common ground. She is a radical pick that divides America. She believes the role of the Court is to set policy, which is exactly the philosophy that led to the Supreme Court turning into the ‘National Abortion Control Board,’ denying the American people the right to be heard on this critical issue. This appointment would provide a pedestal for an avowed judicial activist to impose her personal policy and beliefs onto others from the bench, at a time when the Courts are at a crossroad and critical abortion regulations supported by the vast majority of Americans like partial-birth abortion and informed consent laws lie in the balance.”
Or, as Father Frank Pavone put it:
“Does justice include the right to tear the arms and legs off of babies, crush their skulls, and treat them as medical waste?
“We all draw the line somewhere. An avowed racist or anti-Semite is not acceptable on the Supreme Court. Why should we give a pass to the violence of abortion?”
Nonetheless the possibility that she’s Catholic (no one seems to know if her faith stuck in adult life) is frightening some:
“It fascinates me that practically no one dares to say too many Catholics,” writes legal blogger Ann Althouse. “If we’re ever going to talk about group representation and diversity, we need to talk about the overrepresentation of Catholics. Catholics are 22% of the U.S. population. 6 is 66.6666% of 9.”
The PC alarm in her head immediately adds: “On the other hand, we really can’t suddenly start noticing all the Catholics just when a Hispanic name comes up for the first time.”
She points to Christopher Hitchens who in 2005 bravely grumped about Catholics on the court in this Slate article.
The article is like a greatest hits medley for Hitchens:
“Why should this question be asked only of Catholics? Well, that’s easy. The Roman Catholic Church claims the right to legislate on morals for all its members and to excommunicate them if they don’t conform. The church is also a foreign state, which has diplomatic relations with Washington. In the very recent past, this church and this state gave asylum to Cardinal Bernard Law ...”
Jack Smith at the Catholic Key notices that NARAL is polite but underwhelmed by the pick, here.
Brian Saint-Paul rounds up reaction here.