Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Catholic Court

So it would seem that President Obama wants to appoint another Catholic to the Supreme Court, which would give us a 6-3 majority, leaving only one protestant on the high court. It makes me wonder how it is possible with so many Catholics on the court that we still have federal legal protections of abortion.

It has made me want, like any good blogger, to comment on something I am neither qualified nor informed to.

Is it possible for a Catholic jurist in good standing to find a legal protection for abortion? It would seem to obviously violate natural moral law in all but the most difficult of cases. So then, let us consider some specific cases. Must a Catholic jurist in this country find in favor of abortion rights if they, for instance, serve on a lower court and are thus subject to the case law developed in Roe? What if they are on the Supreme Court itself; is it proper to vote against finding the right to abortion when Roe is established case law, or on the contrary, would it be improper to vote in favor of a Roe-like case?

I don't think a Catholic jurist could, in these situations given, vote in favor of Abortion rights. I'm not sure that recusal is in order, but careful consideration of the cases at hand must be undertaken to find justly in keeping with this country's legal system and the natural law. As a higher court justice, your primary consideration is usually seeing to the protection of the rights guaranteed by the constitution, which is normally called "interpretation". That natural law is foundational for our country was always assumed, and should be restored.

Again, I find the fact that we will have 6 Catholics (who must oppose abortion) 2 Jews (who, as I understand, really should oppose abortion) and one Protestant (without a Pope, who knows what they believe) on the High Court, and still have the decisions that stand.

Should Catholics on the Supreme Court be denied communion if they find for Abortion in their tenure? This, I think, is a much dicier issue than the question of legislators who make laws in favor of abortion. I do not think this possible action should be sought by the Bishops unless there is something very clearly written into one of their opinions which is obviously opposed to natural law, and a scandal. In that case, and perhaps only then, should this be considered for the justices on the court. I'm not even sure if it makes sense in that case either.

I believe this issue, regarding communion to justices and to politicians, will be important moving forward.

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