Action Alert!

Catholics need not apply?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jun 10, 2003

Can a practicing Catholic be appointed as a US federal-court judge? Or will Democrats in the Senate block any such nomination?

In an op-ed column published in today's Wall Street Journal (available, for now, only to subscribers), Douglas Kmiec raises that question. The answer is not clear.

Right now, Catholic nominees are being blocked by filibuster. Kmiec is raising an issue that has not, to date, drawn much attention. Are the Democrats imposing a religious test? The US Constitution explicitly bans such tests.

But then, if liberal Democrats paid attention to the Constitution, we wouldn't be having this sort of trench warfare over judicial nominations. The Constitution is designed to limit what the federal government can do. Liberals favor a government without limit, and now they want to lock in their recent gains by ensuring that no judge who understands constitutional restraints can gain even the first rung of the ladder leading to the Supreme Court.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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