Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Roberts hearing speculation

I almost don’t know where to begin with this article, which suggests that religion could be a focus of the Roberts confirmation hearings.

Here’s as good a place as any:

Conservatives distrusted O’Connor for the same reason that liberals are sorry to see her go: She supported abortion rights and took moderate stances on other social causes, including voting to strike down Texas’s sodomy law, a 2003 case that was a turning point for gay rights.

Needless to say, voting with the majority on
Lawrence is not moderate, at least not where I come from.

Then there’s this, which requires much more parsing than she gives it:

The issue for both sides is not so much what Roberts believes is right or wrong. Rather, it is the degree to which he believes religious morality may be permitted to influence public policy. Liberals believe in a firewall between church and state, but as Christian conservatives see it, the Supreme Court should allow elected officials to restrict abortions or permit a Ten Commandments monument to be displayed on public property, if those actions have voter support.

The good news is that we seem to have moved out of Pryor-like "deeply held beliefs" territory, but moved into questioning whether and to what extent the motives of elected officials are fair game, if they’re religious. That way lies madness, it seems to me.

Finally, there’s this:

One way senators could broach the issue would be through a section of the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct that states judges should not preside over cases in which they have a financial "or other" interest. Democrats are debating whether to ask Roberts to interpret the section in the context of a decision by some Catholic bishops last year to refuse Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. If such a ban were extended to Supreme Court justices, would Roberts consider that a sufficient "other" interest?

To introduce this talking point without an even cursory exploration and explanation of Catholic doctrine--my feeble attempt is
here (with the links)--obviously only helps the opposition.

Of course, none of this surprises me.

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Are the writers at the WaPo really this clueless?

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