Let's just put it this way: Senator Arlen Specter should have kept quiet.
His comments, made right after the election, about abortion, Roe v. Wade, and Supreme Court Justices, have infuriated people from coast to coast. Though he has now tried to backtrack, his comments left the clear impression that he did not want pro-life justices nominated. Now, a flood of messages are coming in to senators, urging them to prevent Specter from becoming the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which bears key responsibilities in the process of the confirmation of the president's judicial nominations.
This is a welcome flood, and an appropriate response. After all, one of the key motivating factors for voters has been the future makeup of the Supreme Court. There will be vacancies, the president will make nominations, and the future of Roe v. Wade does hang in the balance.
In the midst of this battle, I am fully confident about a couple of things.
First of all, I am confident that the president will choose the right people to nominate. He knows the proper role of the judiciary, and the difference between interpreting the Constitution and re-writing it. He also knows the history of Supreme Court nominations (including those made by his father)and is determined to avoid mistakes of the past.
Secondly, I am confident that the voters in Election 2004 will not let this issue rest, but rather will make it clear to the US Senate that they will not tolerate filibusters or bias against nominees who are well-qualified and also happen to be Christian and pro-life.
The bottom line here is that nobody not the President, nor his nominees, nor the senators should hesitate to say what has to be said about Roe v. Wade. Not only is it an abominable decision, just from the legal standpoint, but it is also a poison to the very fabric of law and justice. Dred Scott, in fact, was a better decision than Roe, and did far less damage to our nation.
Nobody has any responsibility to uphold Roe v. Wade. In the Church's view, Roe v. Wade lacks all juridical validity. It should be denounced as incompatible with the very principles on which America was built. It should be condemned outright, and no adherence to protocol or invocations about the “law of the land” should be allowed to obscure the fact that there is no room in America for Roe v. Wade.
We have spoken in the voting booth. Now, let us speak to our senators, loud and clear, so that the Court itself may return to upholding the principle that is inscribed on the very stones of the Supreme Court building: Equal Justice Under Law.
Fr. Pavone is the Founding Director of Priests for Life. You may contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Tel: 888-PFL-3448 or 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.priestsforlife.org.