July 10, 2018

CNN.com Asks, Never Answers: Why Are Most Supreme Court Justices Catholic?

If a writer posts a column headlined with a question, one expects to see an attempt at an answer. Z. Byron Wolf, whose CNN.com column asked “Why do Catholics hold a strong majority on the Supreme Court?” Tuesday morning Eastern Time, didn’t merely fail in that regard. Wolf even admitted to that failure halfway in. Finally, after only hinting at an explanation, Wolf wrote in his second-last paragraph that “A justice’s religion does not, nor should it, matter.” Despite that perfunctory admission, there appears to be a strategy behind Wolf’s effort.

One giveaway is that Wolf’s opening paragraphs contain thinly-veiled attempts to, for lack of a better term, “otherize” the Court’s Catholic members:


In the opening paragraph, Catholics are treated as “they.” That might be passed off as sloppy (though if applied to other groups, leftists would instantly scream “Microaggression!”), but then we’re told that every Republican-appointed justice besides Gorsuch is Catholic or has a Catholic background. Message: These people aren’t like us, and there are already too many of them. (The Barack Obama-nominated Sonia Sotomayor apparently gets a pass, because “cultural Catholic” describes “someone who identifies with Catholicism and its traditions but is not active in the church,” i.e., they find the use of the Catholic label convenient.)

Wolf spent several paragraphs going over the decline in reported Catholic affiliation and the demographic changes among those who do profess to be Catholic. In Paragraph 10 of 22, he admitted that he hadn’t yet addressed his column’s headlined question. Three paragraphs later, he provided what he admitted was only a hint as to why so many justices are Catholic:


But the problem isn’t that they’re men. It’s that they’re Catholic.

We know this because Wolf then virtually celebrated the shabby treatment Catholic judge Amy Coney Barrett received last year when she was nominated for a circuit court slot:


Wolf is right about one thing: The full exchange between Feinstein and Coney is well worth watching. but not for the reasons he believes it is.

Another video worth watching is ”Catholics Need Not Apply,” which was produced by a group which was outraged at Feinstein’s other Democrats’ disgraceful treatment of Barrett:


SENATOR DICK DURBIN (D-Ill.): You refer to orthodox Catholics. Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-Ca.): The conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.

NARRATOR: Liberal Democrats are attacking Amy Coney Barrett, a judicial nominee with sterling credentials and bipartisan support, just for being Catholic.

That’s right. The message from Senate Democrats: “Catholics Need Not Apply.”

Coney Barrett is an esteemed law professor at Notre Dame. But they mocked her for following her Catholic faith.

Their hypocrisy knows no limits. They attack a woman for her Catholic faith, make it a religious test. But they’re afraid to call radical Islam “radical Islam.”

The President of Notre Dame said these attacks on Catholics are “chilling to hear,” and that Coney Barrett living her faith should “command respect, not evoke concern.”

He’s exactly right. Tell the Democrats: Stop the hypocrisy. End the religious tests. Don’t attack Catholics for being Catholic.

Feinstein’s and other Democrats’ behavior was a textbook example of bigotry against anyone with deeply held religious beliefs who practice those beliefs in the public square.

Thus, the likely answer to the question one must ask Wolf — “Why did you waste our time writing this column if you couldn’t answer your headline’s question?” — is that the left is trial-ballooning the idea that Trump nominee Bret Kavanaugh must be stopped because there are already too many darned Catholics on the nation’s highest court.

In other words, they want to see if aggressive “Catholics Need Not Apply” tactics might work.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.


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