The Corner

John Roberts’s Faith

I was going to criticize Cathy Young and E. J. Dionne for their columns on the subject, but Christopher Hitchens has made that pointless. Hitchens argues that Roberts’s faith is fair game because the Catholic church is especially sinister. Anti-Catholicism isn’t bigotry because it’s justified.

Hitchens’s piece is only seven paragraphs long, yet somehow feels padded. And padded with the most mindless dreck I’ve ever read from Hitchens, whose coverage of religious issues has been getting lazier by the month. The Ten Commandments, he informs us, do not condemn genocide. (I guess Hitchens is a very strict constructionist.) We’re supposed to worry about a pope-obeying Catholic bloc on the Court including Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and prospectively Roberts. “Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas are strong in the faith.” Has anybody told Hitchens that Kennedy disagrees with Scalia and Thomas about the constitutional status of abortion? Hitchens dismisses Justice Scalia’s comment that “the principle of laws being ordained by God is . . . the foundation of our legal system” as “gibberish” that “is in flat contradiction to the Declaration of Independence.” Has Hitchens ever read the Declaration?

Hitchens affects a smug superiority over Scalia, but the ground that Hitchens has chosen is unfavorable to him. All he has demonstrated is his own invincible ignorance about the law, Catholicism, and American politics.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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