E.J. Dionne Jr’s op-ed in the Washington Post today argues in favor of questioning John Roberts on how his Catholic faith might affect his judicial decisionmaking. Here’s the most telling passage:
“Former New York governor Mario Cuomo is, like Kerry, a Catholic Democrat who has tangled with his church’s leaders on the politics of abortion. Cuomo wondered during a recent phone conversation how those bishops who tormented Kerry would react if Roberts said that his religious views would not affect his rulings on abortion cases. To defend such a stance by Roberts, Cuomo said, ‘the bishops who went after Kerry would have to say that it’s different for a judge, but that would be very hard to explain.’ Indeed.”“Indeed”!? Surely American bishops can be expected to understand and to explain the elementary point that judges, unlike legislators, are bound to determine the meaning of the law, not to engage in policymaking. The fact that American bishops have not criticized Scalia and Thomas for failing to adopt a “pro-life” reading of the Constitution amply testifies to the point.