Cardinal Egan Complains to Fordham University for Awarding Pro-Abortion Judge

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 27, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Cardinal Egan Complains to Fordham University for Awarding Pro-Abortion Judge

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 27
, 2008

New York, NY ( — The leading Catholic official in New York is coming down hard on Fordham University officials for bestowing an award on pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. A protest against the Catholic college began earlier this month and saw more than 1,100 Fordham University alumni and students upset.

Fordham is scheduled to present its Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize to Justice Breyer at a dinner in New York City on Wednesday.

In addition to the thousands from the Fordham community who have complained, a spokesman for the New York Archdiocese says Cardinal Edward Egan was upset to learn Breyer would get an award.

Joseph Zwilling told the Associated Press on Monday that Cardinal Egan has spoken to Fordham officials to ensure "that a mistake of this sort will not happen again."

William Michael Treanor, dean of Fordham Law, said in a statement on the college web site announcing the award that “Justice Breyer has devoted his life to the public good."

"As a jurist, his opinions have been marked by thoughtfulness, balance, rigor, and a commitment to justice and liberty," he said.

But Cardinal Egan joins pro-life advocates in saying Breyer violated pro-life Catholic teachings with key opinions. Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion in the 2000 case striking down state laws banning partial-birth abortions.

The Clinton appointee also dissented in the 2007 case that reversed the 2000 decision and upheld the national ban on partial-birth abortions.

The Cardinal Newman Society, a pro-life group that serves as a watchdog for Catholic universities, told earlier this month about its efforts to protest Fordham for the award.

"All concerned individuals and organizations are encouraged to sign the petition. A drive for more campus signatures is scheduled for the end of this week by Fordham Respect for Life, the campus pro-life students who organized the petition," the group said.

Fordham Respect for Life students report that several Jesuit priests, faculty and staff members have expressed support for their protest of the award.

“Alumni and faculty are now much more aware of the problem and have expressed their displeasure with the situation,” one student said, according to the Society. “We think that we have brought the matter to people’s attention.”

After weeks of attempting to meet with University officials to discuss their concerns, Fordham RFL students were finally granted a meeting.

The Society says Fordham is out of step with the Catholic bishops who, in 2004, adopted the document “Catholics in Political Life."

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions," the document explains.

The Fordham Stein Prize is an annual award from the Fordham University School of Law’s Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics.

The college’s web site says the award is meant to recognize a recipient who “exemplifies outstanding standards of professional conduct, promotes the advancement of justice, and brings credit to the profession by emphasizing in the public mind the contributions of lawyers to our society and to our democratic system of government.”

This isn’t the first time Fordham has awarded a pro-abortion judge, as it honored pro-abortion Ruth Bader Ginsburg with the same prize in 2001.

Related web sites:
Fordham University –
Cardinal Newman Society –

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