The Corner

Sonia Sotomayor and Anti-Catholicism

A writer over at U.S. News & World Report savagely attacks Justice Sotomayor for issuing a stay order in the HHS-mandate case — and blames her decision on the fact that Sotomayor is Catholic:

Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Really, we can’t trust you on women’s health and human rights? The lady from the Bronx just dropped the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Or maybe she’s just a good Catholic girl.

The Supreme Court is now best understood as the Extreme Court. One big reason why is that six out of nine Justices are Catholic. Let’s be forthright about that. (The other three are Jewish.) Sotomayor, appointed by President Obama, is a Catholic who put her religion ahead of her jurisprudence. What a surprise, but that is no small thing.

Wow. Justice Sotomayor is a theocrat — simply because she made a procedural ruling to the effect that a legal question about a law should be adjudicated in the courts before the law is implemented. She didn’t even express an opinion on the substance of the question, and she’s now a traitor to the cause of women. How much more vicious could the attacks possibly get, if she eventually does express a dissent from the Left orthodoxy on this issue? (Yes, yes,  I know that some right-wingers launched vile personal attacks against Chief Justice Roberts when he failed to toe the party line on Obamacare. I do not condone that either. But I would point out that most of the criticism of Roberts was principled, not personal, and it resulted from a genuine disagreement on the substance of the issue.)

The author actually gets even more hysterical a few paragraphs later:

In one stroke with ominous implications, there’s no such thing as Catholic justice or mercy for women on the Supreme Court, not even from a woman. The rock of Rome refuses to budge on women’s reproductive rights and the Supreme Court is getting good and ready to strike down Roe v. Wade, which became the law of the land 40 years ago.

Golly, did you know the Supreme Court was getting ready to strike down Roe v. Wade? Me either. I mean, the day we stop treating the right to kill unborn human beings as a sacrosanct constitutional principle will, eventually, arrive. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this Court to make it happen.

In recent years, the term “anti-Catholic” has been getting too much like “racist” and “sexist” for my taste: a bludgeon with which to bully people who disagree on some issue. If you fling that accusation against somebody, you’re basically saying the reason he disagrees with you is that he’s a bigot. Our public life has lost a great deal because of the promiscuous use of these words. But in this case, use of such language is appropriate: That article over at U.S. News is, simply, anti-Catholic.

(Thanks to Michael Sean Winters, whose post at the National Catholic Reporter brought this to my attention. Mr. Winters’s condemnation of the article is even more scathing than my own.)