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Raymond Flynn’s open letter to Sen. John F. Kerry published in the Oct. 10 edition of The New York Times hits the nail on the head (See story on p. 6). In it, Flynn calls on Kerry to abandon his stated position that he will only nominate individuals to the federal bench “whose records demonstrate a respect for ... the right to choose.” That position amounts to a “litmus test,” as Flynn puts it, that would stack the judiciary with pro-abortion justices. In other words: faithful Catholics need not apply.
The nomination of one or more justices to the Supreme Court is one of the key decisions the next president of the United States will likely have to make in the next four years. The scope and impact of Supreme Court decisions on social and moral issues are enormous and will shape our culture for generations to come.
Presently, the court is sharply divided in many of its rulings, particularly those related to moral issues. Abortion serves as a prime example. In the near future, the high court will be asked to rule on the constitutionality of the recently approved partial-birth abortion ban. That ban is currently being challenged in three different lower federal courts. Though no one knows how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule, we note that the current justices, in a 5-4 decision, struck down a Nebraska ban on the procedure in 2000.
It is expected that two or even three Supreme Court justices will be replaced in the near future. Flynn’s letter rightly emphasizes the importance of this issue, one with serious ramifications for our society and for the Christian understanding of the plan of God for humankind.