Archive of November 2, 2008

Obama sees Justices Breyer and Souter as judicial models

Washington D.C., Nov 2, 2008 (CNA) - Doug Kmiec, Pepperdine University law professor and adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, has said in an interview that Obama’s models for Supreme Court nominees are Justices Stephen Breyer and David Souter.

Kmiec told that Obama is interested in people of “integrity and competence,” adding “He’s also indicated that he’s most attracted to the kind of justice represented by Justice Breyer and Justice Souter.”

According to Kmiec, Obama admires certain qualities of the justices.

“These justices are individuals who tend to examine closely the consequences of legal decisions in terms of their effects on the larger society, as well as to examine a legal outcome in terms of the specifics of a particular record.

“Justice Souter, for example, prides himself on not resolving any case other than the one before him,” Kmiec told, “whereas Justice Breyer has a little bit more of an academic scope – in that he not only decides the case in front of him in a pragmatic way, but also tries to analyze what that practical solution would mean for related areas of the law – for example, he’s an expert in administrative law.”

Kmiec suggested Professor Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago could be one choice. An advocate of “minimalism,” Kmiec commented, Sunstein prefers “deciding the specifics of one case at a time, and indulging a ruling no greater than necessary to resolve that particular issue.”

When it comes to judicial discretion in interpretation, Kmiec explained:

“Sen. Obama has said that within the context of the language, where that place of discretion always exists, he would want that discretion to be exercised by someone who has empathy with those who are disabled, or those who are old, or those who are at the margins of society, especially where the statute is constructed to give remedy to their concerns.”

Elena Kagan, the dean of the Harvard Law School and Harold Hongju Koh, dean of Yale Law School, are also possible Obama nominees, though Kmiec added the candidate could also look to those that have law degrees but are not judges, such as attorneys for non-profit and anti-poverty groups.

According to, Justices Souter and Breyer are considered to be two of the most liberal justices on the court. They have sided with the majority in rulings overturning a partial birth abortion ban, state laws against sodomy and homosexual practices, a ban on prayer before high school football games and a case banning the Ten Commandments from public buildings.

back to top

Bishops defend marriage in YouTube videos

Washington D.C., Nov 2, 2008 (CNA) - The U.S. bishops have posted to the YouTube video sharing site two videos about same-sex unions, defending marriage from efforts to redefine it.

“Certain groups and individuals are trying to make same-sex unions the equivalent of marriage," they state. “This is a false idea being proposed and, in some cases, imposed by a minority. This is nothing less than the radical redefinition of marriage -- denying the truth that it is exclusively the union of a man and a woman."

The bishops featured in the videos include Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky and Archbishop of San Antonio José Gomez, who speaks in the Spanish-language video.

In the video, the bishops warn that a successful redefinition of marriage to include same-sex unions “will bring confusion to what marriage actually means. This confusion could spread and have enormous legal consequences for the rearing of children, public education, employment, and religious freedom. Children would be forced to learn that marriage is merely one kind of loving relationship among many. Churches would be prevented from witnessing to and teaching about the necessary and singular role of love between a man and a woman.”

“Same-sex unions and marriage are completely different realities,” they continue. “Reaffirming the traditional understanding of marriage is neither discrimination nor the denial of rights. Like all people, homosexual persons have the right to be treated with respect and to live in peace with the support of their loved ones. But it is to the benefit of all members of society that the institution of marriage be preserved as the relationship of a man and a woman that serves the common good in a distinct way.”

The videos are part of the efforts of the Defense of Marriage Ad Hoc Committee, which assists the bishops and State Catholic Conferences.

Readers may see the videos at and

back to top

Christian hope always 'hope for others,' Pope says

Vatican City, Nov 2, 2008 (CNA) - Presiding over the recitation of the Sunday Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI commemorated all the faithful departed, explained the meaning of Christian hope, and called for evangelization about the reality of death and eternal life, so that Christian truth does not mix with "various types of mythologies."

"Today, with our souls directed to this reality, finally we commemorate all the faithful departed who have preceded us with the sign of faith and now rest in peace," said the Pope. He stressed the importance that Christians "live their relationship with the dead in the truth of the faith, and look at death, and what lies beyond, in the light of revelation."

"It is also necessary today to evangelize about the reality of death and eternal life, a reality particularly subject to superstitious beliefs and syncretism, so that the Christian truth is not jeopardized by mixing with mythology of all kinds," said the Pontiff.

He also noted the question of whether the men and women of our time still want eternal life.

“Perhaps earthly existence has become their only horizon?” he asked.

The Holy Father recalled that the "blessed life" is a hope common to "men of all times and all places" and said that Christian hope "is not only individual but is always hope for others. Our lives are profoundly united with each other, and good and evil that everyone does always affects others.”

As pilgrim souls in the world, Pope Benedict noted that our prayers can "help other souls who are being purified after death. This is why the Church invites us to pray for our beloved dead and to visit their graves in cemeteries.”

“Mary, star of hope, make stronger and more authentic our faith in eternal life and join our prayer of suffrage for the faithful departed, "he prayed.

After the Marian prayer of the Angelus and the response for the faithful departed, Benedict XVI greeted all the faithful in several languages. In English, he said:

“I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. Today, All Souls Day, the Church commemorates the faithful departed and invites us, the living, to pray for their eternal repose in the peace of Christ’s Kingdom. Let us pray in a special way not only for our loved ones who have died, but also for all those who count on the charity of our prayers. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s abundant blessings!”

As is traditional, this afternoon the Pope will conduct a private visit to the Vatican grottoes to pray for the Popes buried there and for the souls of all the dead.

back to top

Follow us:

Recent activity: