Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Papal Influence Over the Supreme Court Grows

In three opinions issued this morning, one written by that noted Papist Anthony Kennedy, the other two joined by him, the Supreme Court reversed 3 death sentences. Though the Vatican would no doubt have preferred the decision be on John 7:53-8:11 grounds, I’d guess that Pope Benedict will take it. The Holy See’s excommunication of non-conformists Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito is expected soon. On a rosier note for the Papacy, today’s decisions are evidence that Justices Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter and Breyer have converted to Catholicism.

Of course, this is all tongue-in-cheek. But I wonder how the same editorialists and scholars who saw a papal plot in last week’s Partial-Birth Abortion decision will see this week’s death penalty decisions. Will they now cheer Justice Kennedy for his legal brilliance and moral clarity? Will they observe that the four dissenters in today’s death penalty decisions were evidently able to break the yoke of Rome in their votes today? I’m guessing not. That wouldn’t fit the preferred narrative of unthinking religious believers who vote to impose their morality on the nation v. secular citizen-scholars seeking to defend the Constitution.

For my part, I think today’s decisions prove what we in the Center have known all along. Isaac Fong is right.