Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Religious Tests for Judges

During the past few years of battle over judicial nominations there have been a number of times when those on the right have accused the left of employing a religious litmus test. The opposition to William Pryor's appeals court nomination was met with charges of a "Catholics need not apply" policy. I had largely concluded that this was more politics than substance. The fact that there's a strong correlation between being religous and conservatism doesn't imply that the opposition to conservatives is based on religion.

But yesterday I was proved wrong (at least in regards to some on the left). The Boston Globe published an op-ed entitled "Stopping a judicial conflict of interest" in which the author, Christopher Morris, argues that Catholics cannot be trusted to rule on issues like abortion because their church instructs them to vote a particular way. His preferred solution:
If the bishops repeated or confirmed their threats [to withhold communion from politicians who support abortion], the Senate Judiciary Committee should draft legislation calling for the automatic recusal of Catholic judges from cases citing Roe v. Wade as a precedent.
I find it truly amazing that someone could write this and have it published in a major newspaper. What part of Article VI, Clause 3 does Morris not understand?
...but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Morris is obviously so blinded by his insistence on a particular result (maintaining Roe v. Wade) that he is willing to ignore the Constitution. Or as Opinion Journal puts it:
In other words, in order to preserve the bogus constitutional right abortion, it is necessary to disregard the actual constitutional provisions for church-state separation and against religious tests for officeholders.

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