Catholic Pro-Life Group Notes Hypocrisy on Faith, Sotomayor Supreme Court Nod

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 27, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Pro-Life Group Notes Hypocrisy on Faith, Sotomayor Supreme Court Nod

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 27
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A pro-life Catholic organization says there is hypocrisy in the debate over the nomination of judicial activist Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. While abortion advocates criticized the Catholic faith of Bush nominee Samuel Alito, they have no problem with Sotomayor’s religious views.

Yesterday, the White House confirmed Sotomayor’s Catholic views.

"Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events," the White House said.

Although she appears to not be a practicing Catholic, the media and her supporters have noted she will be the sixth Catholic on the Supreme Court.

There has been no condemnation of Sotomayor’s faith, but Brian Burch, the head of the pro-life group Fidelis, tells that wasn’t the case when the nominee came from a pro-life president and appeared to be someone who would issue rulings against abortion.

“There was plenty of noise on the left when President Bush nominated Samuel Alito to serve on the Supreme Court, warning that he would become the fifth Catholic on the Court," he said.

“In opposing Alito, Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal thought it relevant to note: ‘Not only is the Court not representative in terms of race and gender, but also in terms of religion – with Alito, the majority of the Court would be Roman Catholics, which would underrepresent other religions, not to mention nonbelievers,’" he observed.

“Will Eleanor Smeal and the Feminist Majority Foundation oppose Sonia Sotomayor because of her purported Catholic faith? Somehow, I doubt it," Burch said.

Burch told that abortion advocates like Smeal are more concerned about Roe v. Wade than faith and that, if they don’t criticize Sotomayor for her Catholic beliefs, they should apologize.

"I suspect what matters to Smeal and other pro-abortion activists is Sotomayor’s loyalty to Roe v. Wade. If Sotomayor speaks approvingly of Roe, Smeal will support her nomination to the bench," he said. “But if Smeal supports Sotomayor, she owes all Catholics and especially Justice Samuel Alito, an apology for using a person’s faith as a political test for the Court.”

Burch says one’s Catholic faith should not be used as a reason to support or oppose a judicial nominee. Instead, he believes a nominee’s judicial philosophy is what matters most.

“What does matter is her judicial philosophy – namely her understanding of the role of judges and the courts and her duty to respect the Constitution," he said.

Current Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, a pro-life Catholic, appears to agree, according to remarks he made in an address at Villanova Law School in October 2007.

"There is no such thing as a ‘Catholic judge.’ The bottom line is that the Catholic faith seems to me to have little effect on my work as a judge," he explained.

"Just as there is no ‘Catholic’ way to cook a hamburger, I am hard pressed to tell you of a single opinion of mine that would have come out differently if I were not Catholic," he added.

Related web sites:
Fidelis –

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