Carol Platt Liebau: Grateful for Small Blessings. . .

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Grateful for Small Blessings. . .

And large ones, too. Among the latter is the fact that Mario Cuomo dithered and thereby lost the opportunity to be nominated to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton.

Along with Pepperdine law professor Doug Kmiec, Cuomo surfaced on "Meet the Press" this morning. Based on his performance there, one shudders at the thought of the bloviating opinions that would have emanated from a Justice Cuomo. The topic was the "religious test" prohibited by the Constitution (Article VI, Section 3) and John Roberts' Catholicism.

Cuomo was clearly there as a representative of the viewpoint set forth by E.J. Dionne last week -- that it's not only permissible, but necessary to make Judge Roberts provide, as Dionne put it, "an account of how (and whether) his religious convictions would affect his decisions as a justice."

Of course, requiring that kind of accounting comes terribly close to imposing a "religious test." As I pointed out last week, Democrats have refused to believe that any person of outspoken faith can, actually, put aside his/her personal religious convictions in order to apply the law as it's written -- even when nominees are willing to assure them of their ability to do so. (See, for example, the Democratic mistreatment of John Ashcroft and Bill Pryor). The bottom line then becomes, of course, that the only people whose views aren't subject to scrutiny are either those who have no faith -- or those who ignore the tenets of the faith they profess.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Cuomo seemed to spend much of the time on "Meet the Press" justifying his own record as a Catholic relative to the abortion issue. And again, it's worth pointing out the difference between the role of a legislator (or even a governor) -- both political roles that involve the formulation of policy -- and that of a judge (or justice), who is supposed to interpret the law as its written.

That's a distinction that's completely lost on Cuomo -- and most liberals -- who seem to equate sitting on a court with formulating policy. Which is a major part of the problem with American jurisprudence today.


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