Friday, September 30, 2005

John Roberts Would Likely Allow Hearings on Partial-Birth Abortion Suit

Washington, DC ( -- President Bush has asked the Supreme Court to hear a case concerning an appeal court's decision to overturn the national ban on partial-birth abortions. The Supreme Court typically hears appeals regarding a court decision overturning a Congressional law and John Roberts, should be confirmed this week as the next chief justice, would likely push the court to take the case. The nation's high court is normally asked to hear thousands of cases each year, but only has time to hold hearings on fewer than 200. In the Justice Department's brief to the Supreme Court requesting a hearing, Solicitor General Paul Clement argues that the Supreme Court traditionally allows cases to proceed if they involve an act of Congress, such as the partial-birth abortion ban. "This Court's ordinary practice is to grant certiorari when a court of appeals holds a federal statute unconstitutional," he said. During Roberts' confirmation hearings, pro-abortion Sen. Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat, asked Roberts which cases "would make the cut" for the Supreme Court agenda. Roberts said he thought the court should "grant review in cases in which a lower court strikes down an act of Congress." "I don't think that's an absolute rule but certainly is a general matter," Roberts explained. "If an act of Congress is going to be declared unconstitutional, I think the Supreme Court ought to be the one determining that as a final matter and generally not leave it to a court of appeals." Should the Supreme Court allow hearings, they would likely be scheduled for next spring. Read the complete story.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Headed to Supreme Court After Bush Appeal

Washington, DC ( -- The Bush administration on Monday appealed a federal appeals court's decision declaring the national ban on partial-birth abortions unconstitutional. The appellate court said the ban on partial-birth abortions should be struck down because it lacks a "health exception." After President Bush signed the ban in 2003, abortion advocates took it to court in three separate cases. District court judges ruled the ban unconstitutional in all three and 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited a prior Supreme Court decision saying the ban needs a health exception. The Bush administration brief argues that Congress' findings should be respected, namely that it heard from numerous doctors that said the three-day long abortion procedure is never necessary to protect a woman's health. "Congress received oral and written testimony from experts who stated that partial-birth abortion was not necessary to preserve the health of the mother in any circumstances," the brief said. Solicitor General Paul Clement said the nation's top court should take the case. "This case involves the constitutionality of a significant act of Congress that has been invalidated and permanently enjoined by the lower courts," Clement said in the brief. If the high court grant's the president's request for a review of the decision, it would be the second time it has looked at partial-birth abortions. Read the complete story.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

President's Hurricane Speech: A Catholic Analysis

A little late in posting, but Oswald had a great "analysis". Check it out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The White House RSS feed for President George W. Bush

The White House RSS feed for President George W. Bush delivers headlines and links to White House news releases on, including events, speeches, statements, and press briefings from administration officials. In addition to the RSS feed, audio files of the President's Weekly Radio Address and selected remarks are available via Podcast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Affirming Affirmative Action

President Bush’s initiatives for rebuilding New Orleans and restructuring its economic organization are affirmative action writ large. But this is an affirmative action program that doesn’t have any of the drawbacks that have made affirmative action problematic in so many other settings.

Monday, September 19, 2005

UNFPA Denied U.S. Funds for Fourth Year

The White House has once again denied the controversial United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) financial backing – for the fourth year running, despite assurances from the UNFPA that it is not involved in coercive abortion in China. The UNFPA would normally receive $34 million; instead, $25 million will be redirected to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

US law prohibits the country from contributing to any organization that participates in coercive abortion – a practice widely acknowledged in Communist-ruled China. Despite alleging that they have no participation in this practice – as a press release from the UN dated today claims – other groups continue to document evidence that the UNFPA is directly involved in funding and aiding China’s coerced abortion program.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The JFK Question

I have been meaning to post on this. Instead I point my readers to Manuel Miranda's excellent piece on Opinion Journal today. Some excerpts:

While questioning John Roberts on Tuesday, Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter asked: "Would you say that your views are the same as those expressed by John Kennedy when he was a candidate, and he spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September of 1960: 'I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.' "

Hours later, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California made it worse: "In 1960, there was much debate about President John F. Kennedy's faith and what role Catholicism would play in his administration. At that time, he pledged to address the issues of conscience out of a focus on the national interests, not out of adherence to the dictates of one's religion. . . . My question is: Do you?"

How insulting. How offensive. How invidiously ignorant to question someone like Judge Roberts with such apparent presumption and disdain for the religion he practices. The JFK question is not just the camel's nose of religious intolerance; it is the whole smelly camel.


The JFK question has no place in a Senate confirmation process. The Constitution says so. As I noted in an earlier column new secularist bigotry has found a home in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I was not the first to say so. In July 2003, the Most Rev. Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, reacted to the growing evidence of a religious test in the Senate: "Many people already believe that a new kind of religious discrimination is very welcome at the Capitol, even among elected officials who claim to be Catholic. Some things change, and some things don't. The bias against 'papism' is alive and well in America. It just has a different address."

A Catholic archbishop's voice in politics is a rare enough thing, but it was not alone. Representing more than 1,000 synagogues, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations wrote this letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee a few days earlier: "As a community of religious believers committed to full engagement with modern American society, we are deeply troubled by those who have implied that a person of faith cannot serve in a high level government post that may raise issues at odds with his or her personal beliefs."

Now, two years later, the situation is worse. Anti-Semitism marred the confirmation battles of associate justices Abe Fortas, Louis Brandeis, and Benjamin Cardozo, but it was unpronounced and hidden. John Roberts will be only the 11th Catholic (out of 109 justices) to serve on the Supreme Court in its 215-year history. But his confirmation may be a historic first. It marks the introduction, on the record, of a constitutionally prohibited religious test for a Supreme Court nominee. We are going in the wrong direction.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Confirmation hearings for Catholic Roberts set to begin today

President Bush declares National Day of Prayer for hurricane victims

The president said yesterday that, “I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services and other appropriate observances. I also encourage all Americans to remember those who have suffered in the disaster by offering prayers and giving their hearts and homes for those who now, more than ever, need our compassion and our support.”

Thursday, September 08, 2005

President's eulogy for Chief Justice Rehnquist

THE PRESIDENT: Jim and Janet and Nancy; members of the Rehnquist family; colleagues of the Chief Justice. This afternoon the people of the United States mourn the passing of the leader of a branch of the government, the eight Justices of the Court pay final homage to their Chief and friend, and a loving family bids farewell to a kind and gentle soul.

William Hubbs Rehnquist accomplished many things in his good life, and rose to high places. And we remember the integrity and the sense of duty that he brought to every task before him. That character was clear in the young man of 18 who signed up for the Army Air Corps during the second world war. The nation saw that character in his more than three decades of service on our highest Court. And the nation saw it again last January the 20th, when the Chief Justice made his way onto the inaugural platform. Many will never forget the sight of this man, weakened by illness, rise to his full height and say in a strong voice, “Raise your right hand, Mr. President, and repeat after me.”

It was more than a half-century ago that Bill Rehnquist first came to the Supreme Court as a law clerk. As he would later recount the story, he made that trip from Milwaukee, in the middle of the winter in an old blue Studebaker with no heater. He recalled that as he began the journey, he patted that car and thought, don’t let me down, baby.

After a year-and-a-half in the Chambers of Justice Robert Jackson, Bill Rehnquist left D.C. and headed for Phoenix with an even greater love for the law — and with something more: a beautiful fiancée named Natalie Cornell. She would share his walk in life for nearly 40 years. All who knew the Chief know how he cherished Nan and their time together, and how much he missed his wife in the years without her.

In every chapter of his life, William Rehnquist stood apart for his powerful intellect and clear convictions. In a profession that values disciplined thought and persuasive ability, a talent like his gets noticed in a hurry. Still in his 40s, he became the 100th Justice of the Supreme Court, and one of the youngest in modern times.

After he moved to the center chair, William Rehnquist led the Court for nearly two decades, and earned a place among our greatest chief justices. He built consensus through openness and collegiality. He was a distinguished scholar of the Constitution and a superb administrator of the judicial conference. He understood the role of a judge and the place of courts in our constitutional system. He was prudent in exercising judicial power, and firm in defending judicial independence.

On the bench and as a leader of the federal courts, Chief Justice Rehnquist was always a calm and steady presence. In his thinking and in his bearing, he personified the ideal of fairness, and people could sense it. Inside the Court, no man could have been a finer steward of the institution, its customs, and its history.

As long as William Rehnquist was presiding, colleagues and advocates knew that the proceedings would be orderly, on time, businesslike, and occasionally humorous. Once during an oral argument, a lawyer criticized his opponent’s position by saying, “I doubt very much it will fool this Court.” The Chief Justice replied, “Don’t overestimate us.” (Laughter.)

In his time on the Court, William Rehnquist served with 16 other justices, and by all accounts, each one of his colleagues regarded the man with respect and affection. Justice William Brennen once said to a visitor, “I cannot begin to tell you … how fond all of us are of him personally.”

Throughout this city of government, people saw William Rehnquist in that same way. He carried himself with dignity, but without pretense. Like Ronald Reagan, the President who elevated him to Chief Justice, he was kindly and decent, and there was not an ounce of self-importance about him. It is rare that — it is a rare man who can hold a prominent position in Washington, D.C., for more than 30 years and leave behind only good feelings and admiration. That’s what William Rehnquist did.

His law clerks knew him as a demanding boss who pressed them, as one said, to “read carefully, write clearly, and to think hard.” But the clerks also became an extension of the Chief’s family, joining him for walks around the Capitol, or for lunch or dinner, or games of tennis or charades. His clerks remember those times with fondness. And even more, they remember his vast store of knowledge and his daily example of clear thinking and character. To work beside William Rehnquist was to learn how a wise man looks at the law and how a good man looks at life.

The Chief Justice was devoted to his public duties, but not consumed by them. He was a renaissance man, a man who adored his family, a man who always kept things in balance. He read works of history and wrote a few fine ones of his own. He knew how to paint, and he knew how to win at bridge and poker. He had a passion for the classics, for astronomy, and for college basketball. He enjoyed music, and having stood next to him during the National Anthem, I can tell you the man loved to sing. (Laughter.)

William Rehnquist often reminded young lawyers of the ancient insight that time is the most valuable thing a man can spend. He spoke with feeling about the need to choose wisely, doing your job well, and never forgetting the other important things that also take time: love for one another, being a good parent to a child, service to your community. He might have added, the importance of being a loving grandfather, because he was clearly that, too.

The 16th Chief Justice of the United States was given 80 years of life. He filled those years with purpose, a gracious spirit, and faithful service to God and country to the very end. He now goes to his rest beside his beloved Nan. And William H. Rehnquist leaves behind the gratitude of our whole nation. We’re proud of our Chief Justice, and America honors his memory. May God bless him.

Monday, September 05, 2005


THE PRESIDENT: Morning. This summer I announced the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. I choose Judge Roberts from among the most distinguished jurists and attorneys in the country because he possesses the intellect, experience and temperament to be an outstanding member of our nation's Highest Court.

For the past two months, members of the United States Senate and the American people have learned about the career and character of Judge Roberts. They like what they see. He's a gentleman. He's a man of integrity and fairness. And throughout his life, he has inspired the respect and loyalty of others. John Roberts has built a record of excellence and achievement, and a reputation for goodwill and decency toward others.

In his extraordinary career, Judge Roberts has argued 39 cases before the nation's Highest Court. When I nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, he was confirmed by unanimous consent. Both those who've worked with him and those who have faced him in the courtroom speak with admiration of his striking ability as a lawyer and his natural gifts as a leader. Judge Roberts has earned the nation's confidence and I'm pleased to announce that I will nominate him to serve as the 17th chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist leaves the center chair empty just four weeks left before the Supreme Court reconvenes. It is in the interest of the Court and the country to have a chief justice on the bench on the first full day of the fall term. The Senate is well along in the process of considering Judge Roberts' qualifications. They know his record and his fidelity to the law. I'm confident that the Senate can complete hearings and confirm him as chief justice within a month. As a result of my decision to nominate Judge Roberts to be chief justice, I also have the responsibility to submit a new nominee to follow Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. I will do so in a timely manner.

Twenty-five years ago, John Roberts came to Washington as a clerk to Justice William Rehnquist. In his boss, the young law clerk found a role model, a professional mentor, and a friend for life. I'm certain that Chief Justice Rehnquist was hoping to welcome John Roberts as a colleague, and we're all sorry that day didn't come. Yet it's fitting that a great chief justice be followed in office by a person who shared his deep reverence for the Constitution, his profound respect for the Supreme Court, and his complete devotion to the cause of justice.


JUDGE ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. I am honored and humbled by the confidence that the President has shown in me. And I'm very much aware that if I am confirmed, I would succeed a man I deeply respect and admire, a man who has been very kind to me for 25 years.

Thank you, Mr. President, for that special opportunity.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

President's Statement on Death of Chief Justice Rehnquist

Our nation is saddened today by the news that Chief Justice William Rehnquist passed away last night. Laura and I send our respect and deepest sympathy to this good man’s children, Jim, Janet, and Nancy. We send our respect to all the members of the Rehnquist family.

William H. Rehnquist was born and raised in Wisconsin. He was the grandson of Swedish immigrants. Like so many of his generation, he served in the Army during World War II. He went on to college with the help of the G.I. Bill. He studied law at Stanford University. He graduated first in his class, that included his future colleague, Sandra Day O’Connor. Judge Rehnquist, and his late wife, Nan, raised their family in Phoenix, where he built a career as one of Arizona’s leading attorneys. He went on to even greater distinction in pubic service as an assistant U.S. attorney general, associate justice of the Supreme Court, and for the past 19 years, Chief Justice of the United States.

He was extremely well respected for his powerful intellect. He was respected for his deep commitment to the rule of law and his profound devotion to duty. He provided superb leadership for the federal court system, improving the delivery of justice for the American people, and earning the admiration of his colleagues throughout the judiciary.

Even during a period of illness, Chief Justice Rehnquist stayed on the job to complete the work of his final Supreme Court term. I was honored and I was deeply touched when he came to the Capitol for the swearing-in last January. He was a man of character and dedication. His departure represents a great loss for the Court and for our country.

There are now two vacancies on the Supreme Court, and it will serve the best interests of the nation to fill those vacancies promptly. I will choose in a timely manner a highly qualified nominee to succeed Chief Justice Rehnquist. As we look to the future of the Supreme Court, citizens of this nation can also look with pride and appreciation on the career of our late Chief Justice.

More than half a century has passed since William H. Rehnquist first came to the Supreme Court as a young law clerk. All of his years William Rehnquist revered the Constitution and laws of the United States. He led the judicial branch of government with tremendous wisdom and skill. He honored America with a lifetime of service, and America will honor his memory.

May God bless the Rehnquist family. Thank you all very much.