Why We Voted

 

Fr. Frank Pavone

 
  9/12/2005
 

This week in Washington, DC, we see unfolding before our eyes the main reason so many of us voted in last year’s elections: a change in the Supreme Court. With a second vacancy adding to the drama, and the current confirmation hearings focused on not simply a new Supreme Court Justice but a Chief Justice, the activities in Washington DC merit our attention, our prayers, and our voice.

I am very confident of several things. First, we elected a President who campaigned on his commitment to nominate judges who would not re-write the law but rather respect the limited role of the judiciary to apply the law as written by the legislatures. I am confident that in his nominations, he has and will continue to fulfill that promise.

Second, we can be confident that the pro-abortion factions in the US Senate will make a nuisance of themselves this week, behaving as though the confirmation hearings are a forum for some Senators to decide Supreme Court cases by making sure that only Justices who agree with their positions get confirmed. To this end, they will chant the same slogans as pro-abortion activists chant on the street, about a “woman’s right to choose” and about “Roe vs. Wade,” as if that decision had any claim on representing the will of the American people. In fact, it does not and never has. Roe vs. Wade established a policy that the American people never voted on and have never agreed with – a policy of abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. The more the American public learns about what that decision said, the more they will realize that it is not those who oppose it who are extreme, but rather those who support it.

Third, we can be confident that Judge John Roberts will be confirmed. This is the prevalent opinion regarding this highly qualified nominee who enjoys a great deal of favor within the legal and political communities.

Confident of these things, we should also take advantage of this moment in history to let our voices be heard. Our American system is about self-governance. We elect the people who nominate and confirm the Supreme Court Justices. As that process unfolds, therefore, they should hear from us. Our United States Senators should hear us say, one more time, that we expect a swift, fair, unbiased and dignified confirmation process in the next couple of weeks, based on the nominee’s qualifications and not on ideology or politics.

Furthermore, we should speak out to our fellow citizens about the meaning of this moment and about the meaning of the Supreme Court itself. This Court, which holds such an important place in our system, is “supreme” only in reference to the other courts in the judicial branch of government, and not in reference to the other branches! The President and the Congress are just as capable of interpreting the Constitution as is the Court. In fact, they are sworn to do so.

Moreover, the Supreme Court is not supreme over the moral law. God alone has our ultimate allegiance, and what we pray for above all this week is that every judge understand the limits of his or her authority, and the profound obligation to respect the rights – starting with life itself – that are bestowed not by any Court, but by the Creator.