As she has done in years past, pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg skipped the Catholic “Red Mass,” a traditional religious ceremony for members of the Supreme Court on the Sunday before they open their session every October.
While other justices — including those who support legalized abortion — attended the event, Ginsburg skipped the event that has been celebrated since 1953 at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington. Named for the red vestments the celebrants wear, the service is meant to invoke guidance from God for the jurists to make good decisions. Ginsburg once attended the traditional event but quit going to it because of abortion.
The high court justice once confessed to author Abigail Pogrebin in her mid-2000s book “Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish” that she no longer attends because she doesn’t want to be reminded of how she supports abortion.
“Before every session, there’s a Red Mass,” Ginsburg said. “And the justices get invitations from the cardinal to attend that. And a good number of the justices show up every year. I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion.”
Despite Ginsburg’s refusal to attend, six of the members of the Supreme Court — including Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito — attended yesterday’s service. All of the members are Catholic, expect Breyer, who is Jewish like Ginsburg. The event is nonpartisan and respected enough that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and White House Chief of Staff William Daley all attended as well.
Archbishop of Seattle Peter Sartain gave the sermon which, according to CNN, imparted Christian themes of selflessness. Sartain said, “we are not fully alive, even if we follow a balanced, healthy lifestyle … unless we give ourselves to someone beyond ourselves.”
While the sermon was devoid of some of the more red meat political themes that have adorned such homilies in previous years, CNN indicated Circuit Court Associate Judge Joseph Quirk offered a short prayer referencing abortion, saying, “We pray for the inalienable right to life for every human being.”
In October 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston, Texas gave a homilythat presented the pro-life message. He called on attorneys to be a voice for all clients, including those who have not been born.
“They are poor and wealthy, confused and lucid, polite and impolite,” he said. “In some cases, the clients are voiceless, for they lack influence; in others they are literally voiceless, not yet with tongues and even without names, and require our most careful attention and radical support.”
Ginsburg’s decision not to attend comes after criticism she endured for her comments about the Roe v. Wade abortion case that appeared racist.
In an interview with the New York Times, Ginsburg says she once supported Roe for population control reasons targeting minorities.
“Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious,” she said.
Reporter Emily Bazelon then asks Ginsburg a question about what she means and Ginsburg responds that the 1980 Harris v. McRae ruling upholding the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal taxpayer funding of abortions, surprised her.
“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong,” Ginsburg said.