Catholic leader objects to Roe litmus test for Judge Roberts


A Democratic senator said yesterday he would subject Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts to a Roe litmus test. On a Vermont radio program yesterday, Senator Patrick Leahy became the first Democrat to say outright that he would have a Roe litmus test for Roberts.

"It is more than a little troubling that the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee wants to ensure that a Supreme Court nominee swears allegiance to a decision that has been criticized repeatedly by people on both side of the abortion issue as having no grounding in the Constitution,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

“I hope that he is the only Senator who thinks that seven Supreme Court Justices have the right to unilaterally amend the Constitution and that there is nothing subsequent Courts can do to restore the Constitution," he said.

Fr. Pavone said the senator's comments show “a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the Constitution and a Supreme Court Justice.

"What Senator Leahy said in effect is that Supreme Court precedent has become part of the Constitution,” Fr. Pavone commented. “While precedent certainly has an important role, Supreme Court Justices must be able to restore the Constitution when they find that a previous decision has ignored its text and intent.”

Fr. Pavone said he would like the senator to indicate whether he is suggesting that in the wake of Dred Scott he would have opposed nominees who thought that it was wrongly decided, or if he is simply trying to appease radical special interest groups.

Priests for Life will conduct a special effort in the next two months on the Roe vs. Wade decision to educate the public that this decision legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. "No poll has ever shown the American public supporting such an extreme policy," Fr. Pavone stated.

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