Friday, July 29, 2005
Here is Pepperdine law prof (and former Notre Dame law prof!) Doug Kmiec, in the Wall Street Journal, writing (I think) sensibly about Catholic judges, recusal, Roberts, etc.:
Yes, the late Pope John Paul II admonished Catholic public officials to work legislatively to limit abortion--something that even most Democrats proclaim to be doing at least during general elections. But there is not one iota of church teaching demanding that a judge or justice exceed the scope of his office to undo, on solely religious grounds, the public law of abortion or any other matter.
In this supposed controversy it is fitting to recall St. Thomas More, known to history for resigning the chancellorship of England when he failed to persuade Henry VIII not to declare himself head of the church. More is revered as a martyr for dying "the King's good servant, but God's first." But as the patron saint of lawyers and statesmen, More is far better remembered for his earnest efforts, at every turn, to avoid inescapable conflict among law, faith and public duty.
Judge Roberts listens carefully to the questions he is asked, and the extreme premise of Sen. Durbin's question--as reported--was a judicial action requiring an immoral act. One would hope that all Americans, Catholic or otherwise, would recuse themselves from that.