In a statement released yesterday, William Donahue of the New York-based Catholic League for religious and civil rights, slammed New York governor Mario Cuomo for, as Donahue says, accusing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of being a “Vatican robot.”
Cuomo, who appeared Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, said that he wanted to ask Roberts-- a Catholic--if he was “going to impose a religious test on the Constitution? Are you going to say that because the pope says this or the Church says that, you will do it no matter what?”
Donahue commented that, “if a non-Catholic had suggested such questions, he would quickly be branded a Catholic basher. But it should be no more excusable for a Catholic to raise such questions.”
“For Cuomo to float the idea that John Roberts might be a Vatican robot”, he said, “is as shameless as it is anti-Catholic. By doing so, he not only provides fodder to the enemies of the Catholic Church, he further discredits his credentials as a Catholic spokesman.”
Since the announcement of his nomination, Roberts has been under considerable Senate scrutiny because of his Catholic faith, an act which many call an unconstitutional “religious litmus test.”
Father Frank Pavone, president of Priests for Life has said that, "Anyone familiar with American history and the United States Constitution should be embarrassed by the suggestion that a nominee for the Supreme Court has to run a religious gauntlet on his way to confirmation. Religious convictions are not excess baggage or obstacles on the road to public service."