Bush Seen As Having Chance to Recover Legacy with Supreme Court Appointment
Back when President Bush was arguing for entry into war with Iraq, we expressed both our respect for his discernment as leader (the Bible tells us to obey civil authorities) and at the same time a number of profound misgivings, from the rationale for the war to the effects it would have on surrounding nations and most importantly the civilian lives that would be lost. Simply put, we followed the stance of John Paul II and the Vatican. We also heeded the late mystic Maria Esperanza's warning that a war in Iraq would be tragic.
The Vatican's position is that war is not just a geopolitical point of discussion but also an issue of pro-life. Rome under John Paul II was against all forms of killing (whether abortion, capital punishment, human-embryo stem-cell research, warfare, or euthanasia), and Pope Benedict XVI has expressed the same position.
We remain respectful of the President, and we likewise respect the views of many good Christians who believe that what has transpired is a "just war."
But we believe that President Bush, for whom we voted (and more importantly prayed), must now vindicate himself as a "pro-life" president, and that the only way of doing so would be by appointing an ardently pro-life Supreme Court justice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor -- who was sort of an in-between justice, voting to limit abortion in certain instances but also voting to uphold the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.
We can't have another justice who votes like that. As it is, we face tragedy as a nation because of the unborn millions whom we have terminated. It was Christians who put George Bush in office (in very large part with an eye to whom he would appoint to the courts) and the implicit promise was that his nominees would be of the Anthony Scalia-Clarence Thomas mold. With all due respect, that promise must now be kept.
We can have no more "compromise" nominees. The president was clearly elected by pro-life Christians and they are expecting him to do everything he can to overcome the horribly misguided Supreme Court decision that in 1973 allowed the greatest travesty in American history.
Nothing short of that will be acceptable, and we are a bit concerned. On Tuesday the President said that no one issue like abortion would be a "litmus test" for whom he will nominate and defended one potential nominee -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- from the "criticism" of pro-lifers who worry about the attorney general's views on abortion. (While a member of the Texas Supreme Court, Gonzales ruled on a handful of occasions that teenage girls could have abortions without telling their parents).
Will it be Gonzales?
The president says there will not be any one issue that determines his choice, and yet with all due respect he was elected with just that understanding: that he would nominate pro-life judges and seek to overturn Roe. If the president wants to be known as "pro-life," he must do everything in his power to stop the killing of babies and it must start, certainly, with the imminent Supreme Court nomination.
Yes, he has spoken against stem cells. Yes, he also got the ban on late-term abortion. And that was very important. But it was also the very least anyone pro-life could do -- a practice so obviously odious it remains incredible that it was allowed by a civilized society in the first place -- and we have to go far beyond that.
The real starting point is basic abortion and President Bush should be careful not to repeat the misstep of his father -- who as president indicated he would appoint pro-life justices and then nominated David Souter, an unknown quantity who turned out to be pro-choice, tragically. If the current president does the same, he will not have a pro-life legacy. Because he speaks so openly of his born-again faith, it would be remarkable if he doesn't do all he can -- with this nomination, as well as potential future ones -- to rid our nation of a great evil.
There is a golden opportunity to do so, for President Bush is likely to end up making more than one Supreme Court appointment. There is also Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who is fighting serious cancer. He may announce his retirement in the fall. A third retirement is possible. If that appointment comes from among the six justices who, at various times, and in some cases all the time, have voted pro-abortion, it would afford President Bush an unprecedented opportunity to overhaul the pro-abortion bloc (if it can be called a "bloc") and overturn Roe.
It has to start with the replacement for Sandra O'Connor, and then go beyond that. As some point out, a change of two votes is necessary to take the court from its current 6-3 pro-Roe majority to a 5-4 majority in favor of overturning the infamous abortion case, when one considers that O'Connor has sided with pro-abortionists in certain cases (such as Stenberg v. Carhart, wherein she was one of five justices who voted to invalidate laws against late-term abortion, while in other cases voting for limitations).
"One oft-heard myth is that the current Supreme Court is divided 5-4 on Roe v. Wade," notes the National Right to Life Committee. "This is demonstrably wrong. Even if the President were to appoint a successor justice who some day decides that Roe v. Wade was an unconstitutional ruling, there would still be a pro-Roe majority on the Supreme Court."
We must go beyond that. We must get that pro-life majority. This nation will be destroyed if it does not quickly turn pro-life and if society in general does not regain morality. It's not just a political matter. We are all responsible. Mark those words.
But replacing O'Connor is an absolutely crucial step and President Bush must realize this. We were very disappointed that drastic action was not taken to save Terri Schiavo (she could have been spirited to a military hospital, while investigations proceeded into the propriety of a judge who defied Congress), but now there is an opportunity to get back on the pro-life tract.
You can be courageous, Mr. President. We know that. And now it will take the courage you have. The long knives are ready, but this Supreme Court decision is essential. If the wrong person is nominated for the sake of expediency -- as a compromise; if there is another Souter; if you seek to keep the current Court "balance" -- then despite the moves on stem cells, despite the late-term ban, despite the rhetoric of elections, there will be no pro-life legacy; none whatsoever; at least none to speak of. And we will continue down the steep slope (see the weather) of chastisement.
If Nothing Else, Reports That Roberts Is Practicing Catholic May Intensify Fight
It's unclear how intense the battle over Supreme Court nominee John Roberts will be. "Easy time seen for judicial nominee," said The Washington Times. "Battle Looms," headlined MSNBC. "Confirmation battle looms," added CBS almost identically.
"This should be a straightforward confirmation," said Senator Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on the nomination.
"The president has chosen someone with suitable legal credentials, but that is not the end of our inquiry," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, opined.
And so we see how unclear, as yet, that the battle lines are.
Predictably, radical groups like the NARAL Pro-Choice America and Move On quickly denounced the selection. Conservatives were generally pleased -- very pleased -- although some fretted that because so little is known about Judge Roberts -- because there is a thin "paper trail" on his views -- he could turn out to be another David Souter, who President Bush's father placed on the Court and who turned out to be pro-choice despite contrary expectations.
While Roberts has argued against Roe versus Wade -- the landmark 1973 decision that allowed abortion -- he has also stated that Roe is the "settled law of the land."
Which views are his and which are those of the clients he had represented?
We are trying to confirm reports that Judge Roberts wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, once served as vice president for a group called Feminists for Life. We do know that she attended the College of The Holy Cross and that Judge Roberts is himself -- reportedly -- a practicing Catholic (Note: these reports were confirmed the next week)
And that alone greatly increases the chance of conflict.
Look at two of the Catholics on the bench. They are the lightning rods: Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
"Judge Robert's confirmation hearings are ripe for anti- religious bigotry," said Fidelis President Joseph Cella. "Judge Roberts is a faithful Catholic, who is devoted to his wife and children. With the history of Catholic and Christian judicial nominees attacked because of their religious faith and family life in past Senate confirmation hearings, we call on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, ranking member Senator Patrick Leahy, Senators Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold to prevent this vile brand of hate politics from entering this important process. Judge Roberts is an eminently qualified jurist, and his outstanding legal credentials and temperament should enable his confirmation prior to the Supreme Court reconvening on October 3."
originally published as roberts.htm
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