A question about Supreme Court Justices

Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, is a pious Catholic with a record not just of ruling against abortion from her seat on the Court of Appeals, but also of asserting that she finds abortion “immoral”. As CBS News reported:

Amy Coney Barrett, Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, meets the president’s unprecedented anti-abortion rights litmus test. The federal judge has referred to abortion as “always immoral” and offers something a former top candidate, Barbara Lagoa, doesn’t: A clear anti-abortion rights judicial record. During her three years on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, she has already ruled on two abortion-related cases, both times favoring restrictions on access to abortion.

The Associated Press reports this:

“(Catholic judges) are obliged by oath, professional commitment, and the demands of citizenship to enforce the death penalty. They are also obliged to adhere to their church’s teaching on moral matters.” — 1998 article co-written by Barrett in the Marquette Law Review on how some Catholic judges would feel torn on certain legal questions because of the teachings of their faith.

Yet during that her hearing before the Senate for the Appeals Court seat, she said this:

“If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and I’m a faithful Catholic — I am, although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge.”
— Confirmation hearing in 2017 before the Senate Judiciary Committee considering her nomination to be a 7th Circuit appeals judge, after Sen. Dick Durbin asked her if she was orthodox Catholic.

If that last statement, which has been echoed by other judges up for promotion, is true, one would expect that sometimes a judge would find that the law makes them rule on a case contrary to the dictates of their faith.

This, then, leads to my question:

Is there any case of a Supreme Court judge ruling in favor of a result that they have deemed immoral in light of their faith?

If this hasn’t happened, then one can assume that judges like Barrett are lying when they claim that their faith would not affect the legal objectivity of their judgement.

Of course, I think we already know about these lies already. In a quest for a Supreme Court seat, a prospective Justice will throw to the winds anything previous statement suggesting that their rulings could be religiously biased.

________

Lagniappe: Here’s Barrett pulling a Mitch, explaining why Obama shouldn’t have tried to replace Scalia with Garland during an election year. She thought it was especially bad because a conservative Justice (Scalia) was being replaced by a liberal—”not a lateral move,” she says. How soon we (i.e., they) forget!

101 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Sub

  2. DrBrydon
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I am not enough of a Supreme Court follower to answer the question posed. I believe it is generally accepted that it is wrong for a judge to impose their personal beliefs in place of the law, so many judges must have been in that position. At the same time, though, some people, especially in constitutional interpretation read their beliefs into the law, which must be nice for them.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I do not believe a word of what she says. She is a full blown catholic as are most all the other conservatives on the court. Why do they not simply put the Pope on the court and save money.

    Of all the possible attempts Trump will make to stay in power the only thing that will prevent this happening are the people. If necessary the people must go to the streets to remove this corrupt dictator. The republicans have failed and they must also go.

    • ritaprangle
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Randall, it’s worse than normal Catholicism: Barret belongs to the “People of Praise”, a “charismatic”, secretive religious group. Some former members of that group describe it as a cult. So, her views are more extreme than the average Catholic.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        I would not disagree. So when are we going to put some atheists on the court?

        • Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          Six and a half RC (Gorsuch, an Episcopalian, was raised RC): No problem.

          One atheist: Problem.

  4. Posted September 27, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Judges are humans and they will carry beliefs with them. All of them have at one point made judgements which conflict with their beliefs.

    Statistics shows that the court is more scientific than it used to be. It relies more on data, subject matter experts, and usually makes decisions which are more like engineering controls than moral doctrines.

    The court has become more liberal in the last fifty years and I do not see this trend reversing, even with a potential Trump nominee.

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/supreme-court-justices-get-more-liberal-as-they-get-older/?ex_cid=story-twitter

    • Posted September 27, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      This doesn’t really answer the question but just makes an assertion. My question was this, “Are there examples of Supreme Court Justices ruling on cases in which the ruling violates their religious beliefs by promoting something they see as immoral?”

      Saying that “all judges have made judgements which conflict with their beliefs” doesn’t answer that question.

    • Historian
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      You are reading incorrectly the article you are citing. It is saying that justices tend to become more liberal as they grow older. It is NOT saying that Court decisions have become more liberal over the last fifty years.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        There is a well-established trend, dating back to the Eisenhower years, for Republican Supreme Court appointees to drift leftward over the course of their tenure on the SCOTUS bench.

        This is the main reason why doctrinaire conservatives and evangelicals now insist that potential nominees on the Republican short list be vetted and re-vetted by conservative groups like the Federalist Society and the American Enterprise Institute, and be field-tested on a lower federal court bench, before being nominated to SCOTUS.

        This is also, I think, why Trump’s hand was forced to nominate Barrett over Barbara Lagoa –a Cuban-American jurist who would’ve been the more prudent political choice, both because she would’ve been less objectionable among moderate voters and because she might’ve shored up his support in the must-win (for Trump) swing state of Florida.

        Legoa came up through the Florida state-court system (until her very recent appointment to the 11th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals). I think rightwingers saw in her the potential for another David Souter — the Poppy Bush appointee who similarly came up through a state judicial system and deeply disappointed conservatives by becoming a reliable liberal vote (and who chose to retire in 2009, shortly after Barack Obama took office, thereby giving Obama the opportunity to name Souter’s successor).

        Insisting on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is the chit evangelicals called in on their Faustian bargain to support a thrice-married, morally dissolute candidate like Trump.

        • Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          It’s a Faustian compromise. I think Barrett is a compromise for conservative Catholics who voted for Trump. The landscape in Ohio and Indiana suggests that if Amy was the neighbor of a staunch conservative Catholic living in those states, she would be considered too liberal for their liking.

          Conservative Christians are terrified of justices legitimizing liberal positions.

    • tomh
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      That link does not claim the Court has become more liberal in the last 50 years, it makes the (dubious) claim that conservative justices drift toward more liberal positions as they age. In fact, with the exception of the Warren Court years, the Court has had a right-wingish tilt for the entire 20th century, at least. With Trump’s appointments it takes an even sharper rightward turn.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        SCOTUS has tilted right for the last half century (with Democratic presidents having made just four of 18 Supreme Court appointments during that time — two for Clinton, two for Obama).

        But most of the individual justices appointed by Republicans over this time have drifted left over their tenure on the bench. This was true of the appointees of Richard Nixon (Blackmun, Powell, Burger — even Rehnquist after he became the Chief), Gerald Ford (John Paul Stevens). Reagan (Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy), Poppy Bush (David Souter), Bush the Younger (CJ Roberts), and may yet prove true of Trump’s own appointees (Gorsuch has shown some small signs, and possibly even Kavanaugh).

    • cagjr
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      “Supreme Court Justices Get More Liberal As They Get Older.”

      This is the proper quote from 538. You will be alone in saying the court has become more liberal in the past fifty years.

  5. Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Kennedy. In some cases he voted against abortion restrictions, although he may have been personally against abortion. Don’t know for sure. Generally, I think that if someone has strong personal convictions, they will invent the legal arguments they need to support them.

    • Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      When Kukec gets the hell out of bed we’ll know.

      • yazikus
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Hell, what’s this world coming to, the working class can’t sleep in on a Sunday anymore?

  6. bill
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    wouldn’t any jewish or christian justice who ruled to promote gay rights be granting legal rights to something their religion explicitly condemns as immoral?

    when the old testament advocates “the rod” or death for children, doesn’t that make legislating that parents may not beat or kill their children for infractions show they picked law over religious morality?

    how far does one go with this. the new testament advises against public prayer, for instance. is it then ‘immoral’ to pray publicly, or ostentatiously at least, making enforcement of the first amendment problematic morally for that behavior for those who follow matthew and luke’s admonitions?

    • yazikus
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      wouldn’t any jewish or christian justice who ruled to promote gay rights be granting legal rights to something their religion explicitly condemns as immoral?

      As we know, people have no qualms about cherrypicking which tenets to follow when it comes to faith. So the question is not what ‘their religion’ finds immoral, but what they personally find immoral in the lens of that faith.

      • bill
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        i think the likelihood of finding a justice stating ‘i find this immoral, and constitutional’ is minimal.

    • Posted September 27, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Not necessarily. The Justice has to believe it is immoral.

  7. rickflick
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I do find here duplicitous and likely to kill Roe v Wade, but her statement that she would rule following the law first might be true. We’ll surely get a chance to find out.

  8. Mo
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    There are still people who don’t know how to diagnose spin? Barret was just explaining the different circumstances between 2 SC nominations in that CBS clip. She also said this “The president has the power to nominate and the Senate has the power to act or not, and I don’t think one of them can claim there’s a rule governing one way or the other.” It amazes me how people keep quoting the MSM on any political issue regardless of how many times they are caught lying either overtly or through omission. Even more alarming is how the lies persist long after the truth is evident. There are still swathes of people who believe that Trump called white supremacists good people, called Mexicans rapists and murderers, that Dershowitz said a President was unimpeachable if he committed a crime, that the Flynn/Russiagate BS was a valid investigation and on and on.

    • tomh
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      You mean listening to MSM as opposed to hearing the truth from Fox News, I suppose.

      • Mo
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        No, I mean exactly what I said. The MSM lie through their teeth and utterly ignore major events which don’t fit their narrative. Since you mentioned Fox, I find them to be more factual than most. Some of their presenters, like Hannity and Ingraham, can go overboard on the rhetoric and sometimes be disingenuous, but overall they are better than most. It helps that, by and large, currently the facts tend to coincide with their narrative. It has become almost standard now for the press to reflexively tell porkies about controversial events, labeling decent people as white supremacist, far right bigots without a shred of proof or deliberately fail to inform the public of the true facts about the cases like Breonna Taylor case. It is now obvious that it is being done to inflame people for political advantage. It is getting people killed, and when it does get people killed they do their best to excuse the killers and trash the victims. I find that people tend to respond with dis-belief when you point them to ALL of the facts surrounding controversial issues because the media sure as hell aren’t giving them the facts.

        • tomh
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          Wow, a True Believer indeed. Stick with Fox News, you’ll get a reliable picture. Monday morning they brushed off the Trump tax returns as a non-story, and labelled the Bidens a “crime family.” Can’t get a more reliable picture than that.

        • cagjr
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Look. I know you feel a need to defend Dear Leader, but you cannot do it with any credibility.

          When the Q-Anon, Boobaloo Bois, etc., show up at Trumps rallys, that is not a hoax perpretated on His Innocence by Democrats, MSM, or anyone else.

          Go on with your Sisyphean project.

  9. EdwardM
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    What happens when Roe v Wade is overturned? Connecticut, for example, has a Medical Choice Act (I don’t recall the exact name) which guarantees the right to an abortion irrespective of what the feds say. Other states have similar provisions guaranteeing a right to abortion. Overturning Row v Wade won’t make abortion illegal, it will only make it unprotected. Some benighted states will criminalize it. Will there be extradition battles between states? Will some states become “sanctuary states” so that women (or their doctors) won’t be imprisoned (or executed) by the states which have outlawed it? Will there be border checks at states so that fugitives abortion-havers traveling through can be captured?

    As PCC says, we are royally screwed.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Right, it just moves to the states to decide. So it goes away in over half the country. Maybe 26 to 23 or so. It is already damn near eliminated in several states.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Look forward to a jump in unwanted children in the South and a jump in deaths due to unlicensed practitioners. Many women will be able to slip over the boarder in the dead of night and be uncounted. There are now good abortion pills that can be taken in the privacy of the home, so that should minimize the damage. 70% of Americans think Roe v Wade should not be overturned, so look forward to reduced Republican influence in later elections.

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted September 27, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          One side-effect of Covid-19 in the UK is that women who want to take the (two-stage) oral abortion treatment can now apply for it online or over the phone. This welcome move has received some pushback from the evangelicals, but to no effect.

          The internet ain’t subject to no states border rules, I suspect.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          There is a good case or two made to explain why the crime rates went down in the 90s I think it was, due to Roe back in the early 70s.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            Do you mean abortion as a crime, or tangential effect crime?

            • yazikus
              Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

              I’m guessing tangential. Wanted children very likely make more well adjusted adults than unwanted children.

              • Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for reminding us of this interesting effect of abortion being available. I would be interested to know if this conclusion has held up over the years.

              • yazikus
                Posted September 27, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

                I’d love to see a comparison of the long term economic impacts on a society where abortion is banned and one where it is widely accessible. I think about things like long term health impacts, crime rates, unemployment and other societal things you might end up with when more women are forced to have children they do not want to have. I would wager paying for a robust social safety net and birth control would be far less expensive in the long term.

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted September 27, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

                Oh, Correct. There were many theories covered to figure out why the crime rates went down in the early 90s and continued after. Some believed the Roe v Wade was one of the causes.

          • savage
            Posted September 28, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            Why did the crime rate rise so massively after the 1950s? Did not happen in Japan.

      • Posted September 28, 2020 at 3:24 am | Permalink

        Would it be legal for states where abortion is banned to punish residents who travelled to another state in order to get an abortion?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      If Roe v. Wade were to be overruled, the unconstrained authority to regulate abortion would rest with the states — the status quo ante in the days beforeRoe.

      But the ultimate goal of the anti-abortion-rights movement is not merely overturning Roe, but ratifying an amendment to the US constitution bestowing “personhood” upon fetuses — which would make legal abortion kaput in the United State, and which would, perforce, make abortion punishable as murder.

      • sugould
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        And when “personhood” becomes available? With the “mother’s” temporary inconvenience pitted against the (potential) “baby’s” rights to life? May science perfect that artificial womb now.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Some of the people on the court often reach for their bibles instead of the law books. And sometimes they just make it up which is how we got to Scalia and his ruling on the second amendment. It is just made up garbage.

  11. Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “Is there any case of a Supreme Court judge ruling in favor of a result that they have deemed immoral in light of their faith?”

    John Roberts, a devout Catholic, cast the deciding vote in striking down abortion clinic restrictions in Louisiana and voted in favor of extending federal job protections to gay, lesbian, and transgender workers. Does that count?

    • Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      It depends on whether he thinks abortion is immoral (not all “devout” Catholics do).

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Could also say many Catholics practice birth control also, which the church does not approve of.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          I would venture that you could extend that to most Catholics of child-bearing age. And many of them do it with the tacit (or even express) approval of their parish priests.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        If she does think abortion is immoral, she, theoretically, could still stick with Roe as the determining precedent. Although, I will grant she would have to toy with the idea of burning in hell forever, which would be a pretty strong disincentive.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Win some, lose some, I guess.

          Even Supreme Court justices do not upon a tabla rasa write.

  12. Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    My guess is that it is difficult to find a clear cut case that would answer this question. Challenges to Roe will likely be indirect assaults rather than direct and involve legal issues rather than moral ones.

    In general, justices seem to care much more about legal issues. They are unlikely to go against the law even if their political leanings would push them the other way.

    The cases we have to fear, I think, are the ones where the justices can’t rely on legal issues to make the decision. Then they may well vote according to their political leanings. The election may present exactly this kind of issue.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Is there any case of a Supreme Court judge ruling in favor of a result that they have deemed immoral in light of their faith?

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a practicing Catholic. She’s also one of the Court’s liberals and regularly votes in support of abortion rights.

    • Posted September 27, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but does she personally believe abortion is immoral?

      • tomh
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        You’re asking the impossible. No matter what one says no one can know for certain what is in another’s mind.

        • Posted September 27, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          Maybe, but that is the question PCC is asking.

          • yazikus
            Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

            And is it really impossible to ask it? I think not. I can easily say that I might find a certain thing immoral but that I would not allow that to affect my professional judgement on that thing.

          • eric
            Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            It’s an impossible standard to demand we know for sure whether a justice’s internal thought processes think something is immoral. The only way this question gets answered is empirically; by looking at what they do, how they act, and what they say. If a SCOTUS judge (or Biden, for another example) is a practicing Catholic and/or says they personally think abortion is wrong, yet they are pro-choice, then until you event telepathy, that’s about the best sort of example we can ever hope for.

            I don’t think such positions are impossible. Most people probably think that adultery is immoral (but should not carry a criminal penalty or be the business of the law). Same thing with lots of types of lying. Theologically, the position that supports such a mindset is that while it may be immoral, that’s ultimately between you and God, not you and the states, whose business is simply to promote order, prosperity, protection, etc.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        I dunno, and SCOTUS justices aren’t given to announcing such things.

        I do know that almost all Catholic officeholders of the Democratic persuasion — Joe Biden among them — have staked out the public position that, although they are personally opposed to abortion, they do not believe they have the right to impose their personal religious views upon people who do not share them.

        Plus, were a Catholic officeholder to announce publicly that he or she was personally in favor of abortion, I think they would be prohibited from partaking of the Catholic sacraments (and possibly be subject to excommunication). Hell, some reactionary Catholic bishops have endeavored to deny communion to Catholic officeholders who’ve taken the Biden personally-opposed-but-in-favor-of-rights-for-others position on abortion.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 27, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          It strikes me that almost none of the actors in this farce actually believe the dogma. I’d suggest neither Biden, nor Barrett nor most of the Bishops, actually believe abortion is such a grave sin and would get the attention of the creator of the universe who would then burn them in hell forever. They can’t think so, otherwise they’d all be traumatized and unable to seek power and glory as they deliberately do. They are pragmatically playing their part in a comic fantasy play for the consumption of chunks of voters who are that crazy. That’s why most conservative appointees gradually shift to a more sane position. Once they are faced with affecting the lives of millions of people they realize they no longer have to pretend so hard.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 27, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

            I think most anti-abortion activism is driven by a fear of, and desire to control, women’s sexuality.

            Sluts must bear the burden of their slutishness, or something along those lines is what drives most of them, especially the crazies.

            • sugould
              Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

              Yes. And it’s not like they’re really concerned about the kid. Would love to see a study that finally separates the pro-life from the pro-birth wing.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch Catholic, took the position that Catholic lower court judges who felt themselves bound by the Pope’s statements disapproving the death penalty should resign their judgeships. Glaringly, Justice Scalia voiced no similar concerns regarding Catholic lower court judges and the Church’s position against abortion.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      There must be something about conservatives that drives them toward hypocrisy.

      • yazikus
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Was talking about current events with my kiddo – and he kept saying ‘hypocrisy’ instead of ‘theocracy’. It is fitting and I was amused. “Who would want to live in a hypocrisy?” he asked.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 27, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          That kiddo will do well in the world.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Or about hypocrites that drives them to conservatism — or at least for what passes as “conservatism” in the age of Trump.

        Conservatives in the mold of Edmund Burke, they’re not.

  15. Mark R.
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good question, and I’ll wait to see if anyone with more knowledge will weigh in with good examples.

    At the same time, wouldn’t it be feasible that a devout Catholic “sin” by upholding Roe v. Wade and then just go to confession and do the required Act of Contrition and viola? At this late stage in the abortion conflict, it is a known fact that restrictions on abortions don’t stop abortions and the hardest hit are the poor. Catholics think it’s a good thing to help the poor, right? Couldn’t this be a good rationale to do the right thing for society at large and then privately confess to the priest and be forgiven by the great invisible one?

    As an aside, I wonder how businesses will react to states that make abortion illegal and punish those seeking and those offering abortions. I know states that tried to undermine Marriage Equality were threatened by businesses that said they’d move out of state, not do “that planned expansion project”, or businesses looking to move to these states bailing out. I think states banning abortion would be even more controversial than resisting Marriage Equality. If Roe is overturned, we’ll see the South become even more impoverished as civilized portions of the populace stay out and those with resources move out.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      … wouldn’t it be feasible that a devout Catholic “sin” by upholding Roe v. Wade and then just go to confession and do the required Act of Contrition and viola?

      Sure, once.

      But the Catholic Act of Contrition requires the penitent promise to go forth and “sin no more.”

      It’s understood that, what with the flesh being weak and all, penitents will break that promise and sin again. But a promise that is insincere when made voids the confession.

      • eric
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        I was recently in a similar discussion with respect to absolution, which has the same assumption (i.e. that the sinner sincerely intends not to sin after receiving it).

        It’s special pleading all the way down. When they like the sinner, they’ll give absolution knowing the person intends to sin again. If they don’t like the sinner, they won’t. So, for instance, they will give absolution to soldiers about to go into battle (i.e. who fully intend to kill people), but some priests have denied absolution to gays.

        This sort of double standard makes the church a pretty good example (or at least similar case) of what Jerry is talking about; i.e. while there should be cases where the priest’s personal morality and theology might vary, that rarely seems to be the case in practice. Instead, the theological rules always seem to conform to the priest’s own morality. I can absolve this sinner who I’m very sure will sin again, but not that one.

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 27, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        One and done, I see. Damn those loopholes!

      • cagjr
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        Can’t they just go confess to another priest?

  16. Blue
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps between Monday, 12 October y2020,
    and the current Senate’s vote upon
    her confirmation, one or more of its Judiciary Committee
    can ask of the Person of Praise – judge
    a query and a subset of that original query,
    ya’ know, to examine her knowledge of
    actual and statistical f a c t: … …

    In the past since, O say, ~y1776,
    HOW MANY and WHO of the United States Senators,
    of the philandering ones, have ( in any way )
    coerced the women and girls not their spouses
    whom they impregnated … … to secure abortions,
    legal ones or otherwise, … … and how many and
    who of those men of the Senate then simultaneously
    also claimed UNcherry – picked but total “ faith “
    within Roman Catholicism or inside any other religion
    prohibiting abortions upon moral grounds ?
    O say, as IF ensoulment / as IF feti
    having something called a soul … … was ever
    a “ real “ thing ?

    Blue

    • Blue
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      AND a subset – query o’that subset:

      IF abortion is immoral per Roman Catholicism,
      THEN at where are, NOW and BEFORE, ANY and
      ALL of … … the children which NUNS *bulldozed out,
      their having been impregnated by priests an’
      by other dudes o’ ” The Church ? ”

      AT WHERE are all of these kiddos ?

      Blue
      ( *must have )

  17. Posted September 27, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I know this is silly and non-scientific, but just looking at Barrett I can tell she is an ideologue. Had the same impression of Scalia. OTOH, I thought Thomas would eventually mellow. Wrong.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, “mellow” isn’t the first word that comes to mind with Clarence — though, by most reports from SCOTUS personnel, he’s a fun-loving, gregarious guy in person. (Unless you’re someone like Anita Hill, that is; then it’s not so much fun.)

      • Posted September 27, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        In all honesty, I never thought he did anything but engage in a little “dirty talk” in a social situation. Not sure that should have been made into such a big deal.

        • Posted September 27, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          OTOH, reviewing Hill’s testimony, I might be wrong. I had forgotten Long Dong Silver.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            Whether or not the underlying conduct should’ve been disqualifying, his lying about it under oath to congress at his confirmation hearings should have been.

            “High-tech lynching,” my ass.

            • Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

              Was it proven he lied? I thought it was “she said, he said.”

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 27, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

                If you believed the “she said” part, he lied. There was corroboration of Hill’s testimony the senate never heard (a decision Joe Biden, then the chairman of the judiciary committee, is still catching shit for in some quarters).

                But whatever happened, the accusation and the denial were so cut-and-dried that there’s no chance it was an instance of two people merely having different interpretations an ambiguous incident. One of ’em way lying, Thomas or Hill — and my bet is on Clarence as the prevaricator.

              • Posted September 27, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

                Since Hill seems a woman of integrity and has no clear reason to lie, I tend to agree. It would have helped if she had reported the alleged harassment to the EEOC, or someplace, when it happened. She is a lawyer, for goodness sake.

        • Blue
          Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

          With such a statement as this one of yours,
          Mr Darwinwins, it is obvious that upon
          11 October y1991, almost 29 years to the
          precise date of this year’s hearings’
          commencement and in re the United States
          Department of Education and the
          Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
          NOT “ social situations “ but their workplaces,
          that you did not care / do not, now, care
          to have to behave AS IF mouthing waste
          is harassing to someone. To anyone.
          Let alone, its merely being uncivil, unhelpful and Dehumanizing. Within any
          of their “situations,” let alone, at one
          whereafter the mouther wants a job at where
          he / his braining / his doings will,
          as a condition of that job and its workplace,
          be accountable to me, his employer and
          taxpaying salary – provider.

          “In all honesty,” o’course, this mouthing
          smacks o’your and of your ilk as … … entitled.

          Blue

          • Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            I am sorry you are offended, Blue.

            • Blue
              Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

              hehhehheh: that is just too much
              … … this last comment.

              I am not offended. It merely p r o v e s
              the NON – / UNwillingness to acknowledge
              one’s even knowing harassment, let alone,
              one’s having to NOT do it ! Anywhere !

              Ya’ know: ” e v i d e n c e ”

              Blue

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 27, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

                Blue,

                I’ve zero tolerance for the behavior Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of; I should hope I’ve made that plain in my comments here over the years.

                So let me say that darwinwins is a reasonable commenter, who’s never demonstrated any bias against women or anyone else for that matter. He’s not the problem here, or deserving of anyone’s ire.

                Respectfully,
                Ken

              • Posted September 27, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

                Thanks, Ken. I am sorry I upset Blue. I assume she did not see my addendum where I backtracked. That said, I do think we should be able to discuss these issues without assumptions about the other person’s intentions.

              • Blue
                Posted September 27, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

                Ire is warranted, Attorney Kukec, when, after 29 years’ time, there has not been enough care to even know i) that Attorney and Judge Thomas was Attorney Hill’s superior / her supervisor AT BOTH the US Department of Education and AT the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( of ALL workplaces ) AND ii) that she should NOT have had ( THERE, of ALL workplaces ) to EVEN consider having to NOT have (t)HIS behavior NEAR, let alone, as the attorney that she was OR as otherwise, have it ONTO her person … … to seek that it should END.

                Attorney and Judge Thomas’ behavior should N E V E R have been.

                The price Attorney Hill has paid ? since those hearings ? Very many of us professional and other women who have similarly come forward, have also paid.
                Paid through loss of our entire careers … … let alone, children … … because of.

                I am out. And done.

                Blue

    • Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, she has Stepford eyes. 😉

  18. Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, Chief Justice Marshall wrote a decision upholding the European and American expropriation of Native American lands, even while clearly acknowledging the immorality of it, saying that “conquest confers a title that the courts of the conqueror cannot deny.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Vae victis.

  19. eric
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Is there any case of a Supreme Court judge ruling in favor of a result that they have deemed immoral in light of their faith?

    Maybe Burstyn v. Wilson from 1952? That was a “sacrilege” case where the court overturned lower courts to allow a blasphemous movie (Roberto Rossellini’s The Miracle) to be released.

    The court was unanimous, 9-0 in favor of free speech. Here is a link that tells you what judges were involved. I don’t know their religious affiliations, but I think it’s very safe to assume that all of them were Christian or Jewish. Thus, here you have a case of 9 Christian or Jewish judges allowing blasphemy and sacrilege. Do they view it as immoral? I have no idea. But if they take their religion seriously, then they should.

  20. Posted September 27, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Catholic morals? Lies of convenience.

  21. KD
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    This is Aquinas from the Summa:

    Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such like.

    I don’t know much about Barrett, but certainly Aquinas suggests that there is a distinction between what a person may find immoral as a Catholic and what should be legally proscribed.

    • cagjr
      Posted September 27, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Therein lies the problem. Religion. If religion is not allowed to be used as a litmus test, then why are only those religious types which suit the party making the appointment chosen?

      The church is the reason that period was called “The Dark Ages”. Aquinas and those leaders who followed for the next four hundred years or so, either wrote or guided law making across Europe. It was bad enough prior to Aquinas, but grew steadily worse until ‘the swerve’.

      Everything happening in the political and religous arena indicates that if at all possible, the church plans to take us that way again. The Roman, Spanish, and Medieval inquisitions replayed. Whether the Protestant or the Catholic forces will dominate, or ‘the Church’ is returned to one leader is up for grabs.

      The flags just keep popping up.
      Project Blitz is a long-range plan to bring about a Theocracy in our time. This may be the scariest thing you see or hear about from the White-Right-Christian-Nationalist.

      Click to access Project%20Blitz%20Playbook%202018-19.pdf

      We could remedy the problem with religion in the Supreme Court by allowing only Atheist to serve as judges. Yeah. That’ll work.

  22. rickflick
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Interesting stats:

    “The survey found that seven in 10 women who had an abortion identified themselves as Christian. Breaking that down, Catholic women represented 27 percent; Protestant, 26 percent; and nondenominational, 15 percent. Among Protestants, the top three denominations represented among women who had abortions were Baptist (33 percent), Episcopal (6 percent), Church of Christ (4 percent).”

    https://www.charismanews.com/culture/53499-70-percent-of-women-who-have-had-abortions-call-themselves-christians

  23. Posted September 27, 2020 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    With the exception of a few Catholic theocracies (Philippines, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, etc) … most of the rest of the world – and all our cultural/economic “peers” scratch their heads at why abortion is such an issue here.

    In most of them abortion has all the moral valence of a tooth extraction.

    They think we’re bonkers and fanatics.
    *I* think we’re bonkers and fanatics.

    Visit those countries, talk to the people, and when they bring up Trump, or “the guns” just throw in the towel and leave the bar.

    D.A., J.D. NYC

    • cagjr
      Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      Abortion became an issue the same way as the moral majority, Democrats cannot be Christians,Welfare Queens, Catholics cannot be Democrats, atheist eat babies, Democrats need not pray, Negroes were turned black because of Ham’s sin against Noah, Democrats are socialists, antifa are fascist, Democrats want to open the borders, Obama created ISIS, global warming is a hoax, corona virus is a hoax, anyone disagreeing with Trump is treasonist, Donald Trump is a stable genius, Biden in going to hurt God. O. K. I’ll stop right there.

      Abortion became an issue to win an election. It is part of White Christian men’s need to have complete control of women, women being the weaker sex, unable to make decisions about their own lives, not very intelligent, given to flighty behavior.

      • sugould
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Mo
        Posted September 28, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Either that, or it’s a principled position based on respect for the sanctity of life. Consider that you may be just as guilty of caricature as the people you are accusing of caricature.

        • cagjr
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Those are not caricatures. Those are the very words used by politicians. Surely you remember Reagans and his use of ‘welfare queens.’

          Trump said Obama created ISIS.

          Now, when I identify his sycophants and minions as MAGAhat wearing, knuckle-dragging, unlearned, ill-behaved troglodytes, that is a caricature.

        • cagjr
          Posted September 28, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          “it’s a principled position based on respect for the sanctity of life.”

          Abortion has always been available for those who could afford it. Your principles apply only to the poor and destitute who must depend on public health clinics for an abortion.

          As long as women were having abortions in back-alleys and sleazy ‘one-night’ hotel rooms, there was no principled effort to prevent the abortions, nor was the church on hand to provide any relief for the victims. Only when the deaths became a national disgrace did anyone do anything to relieve the situation.

          The problems began with the Roman Catholic Church. They denied contraception of any kind. Then, they denied abortion for any reason. When the legislature allowed church dogma to dictate or laws, it became a problem for al of us.

          Politicians, as politicians do, saw the opportunity to create a cause. As for the church, a quick examination of church history give ample evidence the church can make no claims of principled respect for the sanctity of life. That applies to all religions, but especially Catholics and Protestants.
          If tax dollars were not involved there would not be an ‘abortion problem’.

          What sort of punishment should we visit on the men involved? I mean, women don’t get pregnant from rubbing one off. I don’t have statistics, but I imagine if women had better options, we would have a lot fewer abortions. Let’s hold men to the same standard: if you cause a pregnancy then you are responsible for the raising, educating, health, shelter, and wellbeing of the issue at least until age 21 and age 25 if they are going to have some college education. If the men involved refuse, then let’s just castrate them.

          That is a noble idea, a principled position based on respect for the sanctity of human life. If we could just bring ourselves to make it a reality across the board.

          I came here to explain to one responder why I thought abortion had gotten into politics. I don’t believe abortions should be available like gum from a vending machine, but I believe we can come up with better solutions than the Catholic church and the Fundamental Evangelical, Charismatic Christians offer.

          “Not only have the ‘followers of Christ’ made it their rule to hack to bits all those who do not accept their beliefs, they have also ferociously massacred each other, in the name of their common ‘religion of love,’ under banners proclaiming their faith in Him who had expressly commanded them to love one another.”
          —Clemenceau memoir, “In the Evening of My Thought” (Au Soir de la pensee), 1929

          “A principled position based on respect for the sanctity of human life”, indeed?


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