If Judge Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed by the United States Senate, she will be the 6th Catholic among the 9 United States Supreme Court justices. Doug Kmiec, my constitutional law professor in the area of the Bill of Rights at Pepperdine University, discusses what this will mean in a recent interview with Suzanne Sataline of the Wall Street Journal .  Kmiec is a former White House adviser under both President Reagan and the first President Bush and a devout Roman Catholic.   Michael Peabody, Editor RLTV

EXCERPT:

Hi Professor Kmeic. So what will be the impact of having Catholics comprise two-thirds of the justices on the Supreme Court?

The Catholic understanding is that the nature of the office has to be respected and the judicial office . . . should not be a policy making position and the church does not assume it is . . . . It would be an entirely improper criticism for any churchman to make of Judge Sotomayor that she needs to rule in a way that is dictated by the faith. She is to follow the law as it is given to her and that is the oath she takes.

In what sorts of cases can we see those beliefs in action?

[Kmiec said he's read about 50 or 100 of her rulings, perhaps a quarter of her authored opinions.] She does seem to be particularly sensitive to freedom of religion issues. She protected inmates in prison, for instance, who asked to have their faith traditions accommodated.

Read the full article at http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/05/27/doug-kmiec-on-a-court-packed-with-catholics/

 
 

2 Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    I had a great comment and forgot to hit submit! So here it is again.

    It would be my hope that a supreme court justice would make rulings based on Constitutional Law and not on their religious beliefs. I would hope that a justice would not try to infuse their rulings with the religious values and traditions of their upbringing but instead interpret the Constitution as it stands. That is how we will remain a free country. With that said, I also don't think it would be fair to disqualify a nominee because of their religious background. They should also be judged on the merit of previous rulings in lower courts.

    Again, I can't believe I forgot to hit the submit comment button. My first attempt at leaving my thoughts was much more eloquent!

    Thanks for causing me to think about this issue.
    Lisa

  2. Lisa says:

    I had a great comment and forgot to hit submit! So here it is again.

    It would be my hope that a supreme court justice would make rulings based on Constitutional Law and not on their religious beliefs. I would hope that a justice would not try to infuse their rulings with the religious values and traditions of their upbringing but instead interpret the Constitution as it stands. That is how we will remain a free country. With that said, I also don't think it would be fair to disqualify a nominee because of their religious background. They should also be judged on the merit of previous rulings in lower courts.

    Again, I can't believe I forgot to hit the submit comment button. My first attempt at leaving my thoughts was much more eloquent!

    Thanks for causing me to think about this issue.
    Lisa

 
 
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