Friday, April 20, 2007

Ruthie and the Catholic Five

What a great touring name. Unfortunately, SCOTUS doesn't tour anymore. So what does it mean that all five of the Catholic justices on the Supreme Court upheld a federal law prohibiting a very narrowly defined abortion procedure? The Philadelphia Inquirer and Rosie O'Donnell seem to be of one mind on this one:

We who are proud of the Catholic intellectual tradition would like to give it some credit, but that puts us in a bind, doesn't it? We don't want to say that the Catholic Five voted strictly out of some fideistic (or what most Americans equate with "religious") impulse -- mostly because Catholicism rejects fideism's partitioning of faith and reason. But neither do we want to say that being Catholic had nothing to do with their adjudication of a morally loaded and complex issue.

The Catholic intellect is oriented to the virtues of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. Now one doesn't have to be Catholic to exercise these virtues, but we need all the help we can get. So was it just a coincidence that the Catholic Five overturned all those lower courts in conformity with Reason and their church's opposition to abortion? No. But did they decide simply because their "sect" is opposed to abortion? No. Will most Americans (educated or not) be capable of appreciating this distinction? No. Rosie's methane-enhanced thoughts on Catholicism have already been given the imprimatur of mainstream academia.

But I suppose I should stop calling them the Catholic Five. Aww, shucks.

UPDATE: Rick Garnett's got his own fisking of the cartoon.