NPR has an unintentionally hilarious piece out today that sounds the alarm that when Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens steps down it could be the first time ever that there are no Protestants on the Court?
Why? Because all those darn Catholics!!! AND THEY FEAR THERE MIGHT BE MORE COMING!!!! But don’t worry they quickly add that it’s not like there’s anything wrong with that. What?! They’re just sayin.’
With U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talking openly about retirement, attention has focused on the “who” — as in who is on President Obama’s short list of potential nominees. But almost nobody has noticed that when Justice Stevens retires, it is entirely possible that there will be no Protestant justices on the Court, for the first time ever.
Cue foreboding music. Tell us why NPR:
In fact, six of the nine justices on the current court are Roman Catholic. That’s half of the 12 Catholics who have ever served on the court.
But they quickly caveat:
Does it matter? Should it matter? Should it be discussed in polite society?
“It would certainly raise a lot of eyebrows,” says University of Virginia professor Henry Abraham. “I don’t know whether it matters. Speaking idealistically, to me, the only thing that matters is competence, quality, education, ability, morals, and so forth.”
OK. So they’re pointing it out to say that it doesn’t matter at all. But my question is since they didn’t find anybody in the sstory to say it mattered, why the piece on it?
That becomes clear quickly. Any guesses? Come on. Eight letters. Rhymes with favortion (not an actual word)
“All of the justices who are on the bench now were appointed because of their constitutional views, and I don’t think any of them are allowing their religious views to trump honest, sincere judgments about the Constitution,” (Princeton Provost Christopher) Eisgruber says. “And I think it’s also worth noting that we’ve had Catholics on the Court on both sides of the abortion question.”
That’s true, but in the last quarter-century, Republican Protestant presidents have appointed conservative Catholics, at least in part because of their reliably conservative judicial views.
The children of immigrants, second-generation Catholics, as Jews did before them, have embraced the law as a profession to succeed in. But as Richard Garnett of Notre Dame law school observes, “A whole lot of ethnic Catholics switched sides politically because of the pro-life issue, and so it turned out that for Republican presidents of the ’80s, ’90s and into the Bush administration, the people who were in the pool, who were available for nomination, and who shared the views of those presidents on some of these important questions, were people who are Roman Catholic.”
Ah! And that’s what it’s really all about. It’s all about abortion. Isn’t it always? NPR is concerned that too many Catholics might overturn Roe V. Wade.
So don’t worry, NPR isn’t really anti-Catholic, they just really like keeping baby-killin’ legal. Whew! I was scared there for a minute.