Tell Them What You Think

Letters are powerful tools.

Letters to the editor in your local newspaper spread the word about important issues. Our U.S. senators count the letters they receive, take them seriously, and often heed them. As U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings into his qualifications, we pass on some talking points from Priests for Life that can be included in letters.

Be smart about polls. A recent Gallup poll said that Americans, by a 53%-37% margin, would not want the Senate to confirm Judge Alito if it becomes apparent that he would reverse Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision permitting abortion throughout pregnancy. Yet a February 2005 Harris Poll shows that Americans, by a wide margin, oppose abortion after the first trimester. It reported that 72% said abortion should be illegal during the second trimester, while a whopping 86% said that it should be illegal in the third.

This shows just how that if Roe v. Wade itself isn’t popular at all — a misconception about it is. Roe (and its companion case Doe v. Bolton) permitted abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy, a policy clearly opposed by the vast majority of Americans. Unfortunately, though, the full extent of the Roe decision has been distorted by its supporters, who are well aware that public opinion on Roe would quickly change if Americans actually knew what it did.

Roe struck down the core protections for the American people to enact laws through elected legislators. Roe eliminated the ability of Kansans, Texans, Pennsylvanians and Rhode Islanders to determine how they would be governed. Roe v. Wade was an ill-contrived attempt by judges to defend “rights” that are nowhere to be found in the Constitution.

The American people have already spoken. Several Democrats are now complaining that Judge Samuel Alito is “out of the mainstream” because he is so frequently compared to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. What they fail to mention, however, is that the president campaigned on a promise to nominate judges who will strictly adhere to the Constitution. It is therefore ludicrous to suggest that the president has nominated a man who is out of the mainstream when the judge he nominated is simply a fulfillment of a campaign promise.

Elections have consequences. John Kerry, who pledged to nominate only judges who would uphold Roe, lost. George W. Bush, who pledged to nominate judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, won. Our system of government was designed to ensure that elections have consequences. Now, more than two centuries later, there are those who are looking to turn back the clock to the days when those living on this side of the Atlantic did not have a say in their government. It is time for those who lost to stop fighting the last election and to start trying to figure out why the American people have, for four consecutive elections, rejected their definition of “mainstream.”

Last year, Senate Democrats suffered a humiliating defeat, losing a net of four Senate seats. While there were several reasons for this, a driving force behind the change was their unwillingness to allow judges who would be faithful to the Constitution to receive fair up-or-down votes on the floor of the Senate. Former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota in particular learned just how important the issue of judicial nominations is. The Republican candidates campaigned on platforms of full support for qualified judges who would faithfully adhere to the Constitution.

In fact, one of only two freshman Democrats said during the campaign that, unlike his would-be Democrat colleagues, he supported an up-or-down vote for all nominees. This is a clear indication that the American people are fed up with those who are more interested in having the Supreme Court implement their extreme agenda than confirming well qualified nominees who will apply the Constitution rather than rewrite it. The fact that Judge Alito will receive a fair, up-or-down vote is evidence that elections do count.

No religious tests! Thankfully, the president has selected a highly qualified, well-respected nominee for the Supreme Court. President Bush has done his job, and it is now time for the Senate to do its job.

Confirming a Supreme Court justice is one of the most important duties that the Senate has. Senators must conduct themselves civilly and analyze whether a nominee is well-suited to serve on the highest court in the land. Unfortunately, though, recent history suggests that some senators would rather apply a religious test to nominees than actually look at their qualifications.

Such archaic bigotry is unbecoming of the U.S. Senate and the Supreme Court confirmation process.

In Advent, we await the coming of Jesus at Christmastime.

What Is Advent Anyway?

EXPLAINER: Advent is a season in the Church’s life intended to renew the experience of waiting and longing for the Messiah.