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Bishops: No Roe v. Wade litmus test for judicial nominees

WASHINGTON | Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to the members of the Senate on July 6, urging them not to use support for Roe v. Wade as a litmus test for judicial nominees in their deliberations about the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States.  

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The letter makes clear that the USCCB “does not support or oppose confirmation of particular presidential nominees.” 

Instead, the letter expresses “grave concerns about the confirmation process…being grossly distorted by efforts to subject judicial nominees to a litmus test in support of Roe, as though nominees who oppose the purposeful taking of innocent human life are somehow unfit for judicial office in the United States.” 

“By any measure,” the cardinal said, “support for Roe is an impoverished standard for assessing judicial ability. For forty-five years, Roe has sparked more informed criticism and public resistance than any other court decision of the late 20th century.”   

The letter points to decades of polling showing that most Americans oppose Roe’s policy of unlimited abortion, to a growing number of state legislatures passing pro-life laws, to mainstream medicine rejecting abortion, and to many legal scholars who support abortion who have criticized Roe for not being grounded in the U.S. Constitution. 

“If a Supreme Court ruling was wrongly decided, is widely rejected as morally flawed and socially harmful, and is seen even by many supporters as having little basis in the Constitution, these are very good reasons not to use it as a litmus test for future judges. Further, a nominees’ faith should not be used as a proxy for their views on Roe. Any religious test for public office is both unjust and unconstitutional.”

The full text of Cardinal DiNardo’s letter to the Senate is posted at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/upload/usccb-president-letter-to-senate-on-judicial-nominees-070618.pdf.

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