Gearing Up for Battle over the Supreme Court

Sunday’s Chicago Tribune Perspective section had a most interesting sketch of the United States Supreme Curt, entitled, “A small society of justices,” with the subtitle, “The Supreme Court can be rough-and-tumble. It has even been called nine scorpions in a bottle.”

Chicago Papers on the Supreme Court

The article jumps back and forth on the abortion issue. It quotes Solicitor General Ted Olson telling the Federalist Society, “Conservatives have every reason to weep,” for although seven of the nine justices are Republican appointees, “conservatives lost virtually every important controversial case that came before the court.”

Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989 seemed to provide Chief Justice William Rehnquist with the five votes he needed to overturn Roe v. Wade, but he lost in a 5 to 4 decision when Sandra Day O’Connor would not go along. In Fact, Rehnquist’s 19 years as Chief Justice has not produced a conservative court.

The article is not flattering to the court, stating in one place that during oral arguments, the justices often banter and pass notes, almost ignoring the anxious attorneys trying to make an argument before our highest court. The short item makes some good points, and if you doubt its accuracy, drop in and observe some time. We did.

An article in Monday’s Chicago Sun-Times also deals with the Supreme court saying the battle is coming soon, perhaps in June if Rehnquist resigns.

Both parties expect a bruising confirmation fight over whoever George Bush should appoint: “If he puts a nominee up whose record is hostile to individual rights, this administration will be igniting a fire storm of opposition around the country,” says Nan Aaron who helped block the confirmation of Robert Bork. “I think it will be a fight that will shape our lives for decades,” she says.

Some names listed in the article for possible new Supreme Court Justices, mostly conservative: James Wilkinson III, Larry Thompson, John Roberts, Mike McConnell, J. Michael Luttig, Sam Alito Jr., Edith Jones, Emillio Garza and Ted Olson. We don’t envy them.

Benedict Reaches Out to Orthodox, Italians

At Pope Benedict’s recent trip to Bari, he said he is willing to make a fundamental commitment to work with all his energy to fully reconstitute visible unity between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. He received a positive reply from Moscow. The foreign relations chief for the Moscow Patriarchate said the Russian church welcomes the Pope’s willingness to forge closer ties with Orthodox Christians.

Meanwhile, the Pope is also urging Italians to boycott a referendum aimed at repealing restrictions on artificial insemination and embryonic stem cell research. The referendum goes before the public in two weeks.

The present law in Italy bans most research on embryos, giving them the same rights as born children, outlaws the use of donor sperm and eggs, and freezing of spare embryos. The referendum is June 12 and 13. It needs a simple majority to be overturned and a simple majority to remain in force.

Atheist Minister Reinstated in Denmark

Here’s a no-brainer from Tuesday’s Chicago Sun-Times: A Danish minister, Thorkild Grosboell, while denying the existence of God, has been reinstated to his Evangelical Lutheran Church near Copenhagen. He was suspended last June for denying the existence of God. He will remain under the supervision of a bishop.

He was warmly welcomed back by his congregation. He also doubts eternal life and the resurrection. Lutheranism is the state religion of Denmark, with 83 percent of its 5.4 million people members of the Lutheran church.

Clarence Page, Consistently Wrong

Clarence Page, who is always wrong, criticizes President Bush in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune for being against the use of “little-bitty unwanted” embryonic stem cells for experiments, but not against the death penalty. Page says of Bush: “He’s consistent , all right, even when he’s consistently wrong.” Page couldn’t have described himself better.

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