Friday, July 17, 2009

*Democratic* Catholics are OK: another double standard on Sotomayor

Given the pro-choice position of most Democrats, Democratic Catholic is either an oxymoron or must refer to a cultural/cafeteria Catholicism. But that's a topic for another day...

Here, William McGurn points to a double standard on Sotomayor's nomination in the WSJ-- the acceptance of her Catholicism when the Catholicism of Roberts and Alito was supposedly cause for concern. So much for liberal tolerance and political consistency.

Of course, this follows the double standards of Sotomayor and her most fervent supporters on the matter of her (in)famous remarks about race and judicial ability.

In opening yesterday's Judiciary Committee hearings on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court, Chairman Pat Leahy (D., Vt.) alluded to the religious prejudice that has too often intruded on the process.

The first Jewish nominee, he noted, had to answer "questions about the Jewish mind and how its operations are complicated by altruism." The first Catholic nominee, he added, "had to overcome the argument that, as a Catholic, he'd be dominated by the pope."

"We are," Sen. Leahy declared, "in a different era."

Maybe. It's true that if Ms. Sotomayor is confirmed there will be six Catholics on the Court -- a higher percentage than almost any Notre Dame starting lineup of the past three decades. It's also true that notwithstanding a few scattered references to this fact, for the most part the judge's religion has been greeted, as a USA Today headline put it, with a "yawn."

How different from just a few years ago. Back when the nominee was Sam Alito, talk was about the "fifth Catholic" on the bench. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, complained that "with Alito, the majority of the Court would be Roman Catholics."

Before that it was John Roberts....And let's not forget Bill Pryor, whose Catholicism came into question when he was nominated for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003. Back then, Mr. Leahy's colleague, Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), put his worries about Mr. Pryor's faith this way: "His beliefs are so well known, so deeply held, that it's very hard to believe -- very hard to believe -- that they're not going to deeply influence the way he comes about saying, 'I will follow the law.'"....

...the relatively soft reaction to Ms. Sotomayor's Catholicism is because of a calculation that when it comes to hot-button issues such as abortion or gay marriage, she doesn't really believe what her church teaches....


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