The Corner

Judges and Religion

Professor Bainbridge has been debating various libertarians (and the occasional liberal) about this topic. Everyone involved seems to share the premise that Senate Democrats are applying an abortion litmus test that excludes nominees who either think that Roe was a mistake, think that abortion is immoral, or think that it should be illegal–and are applying this test even to nominees who swear that as appeals-court judges they would adhere to Roe as a precedent. Everyone seems to agree that this test has the effect of ruling out traditionalist Christians–as Bainbridge puts it, it has a “disparate impact” on Catholics.

Bainbridge, as I read him, is not saying that the Senate Democrats are motivated by any special hostility or “bigotry” toward Catholics. As long as Republicans avoid saying that–or, worse, saying that Democrats are against “people of faith” generally–I don’t see what the problem is. The fact that the Democrats’ litmus test excludes faithful Catholics and evangelicals is a reason to reconsider the wisdom of the test. And to say that the Democrats have a litmus test that excludes faithful Catholics and evangelicals strikes me as fair game, not least because it is true.

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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