Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Judging Justices, Catholic and otherwise

June 17th, 2009 by George Weigel

When Samuel Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bush in 2005, there was a great and frequently uncivil hoo-rah to the effect that Alito would give the Supremes a “Catholic majority.” In this case, “Catholic” was code for “anti-Roe v. Wade ”—and if you doubt that, consider that there was precious little noise out of the folks who fretted about Alito and the Catholic “majority” when President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor, of Puerto Rican and Catholic ancestry, to fill the slot on the Court being vacated by Justice David Souter.

From what little was disclosed about Judge Sotomayor’s religious convictions and practice immediately after her nomination, it seems fair to say, at a minimum, that she’s not been particularly ardent in the practice of the faith. But that’s entirely beside the point when considering what her accession to the Court would mean—as it should have been entirely beside the point with Sam Alito, who by all accounts is a seriously practicing Catholic. To grasp what counts, think back to the Winter Olympics during the heyday of the Cold War.

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