Sotomayor: Reax roundup

Notre Dame law professor and Obama supporter Cathleen Kaveny tells the Chicago Trib’s Manya Brachear that Sotomayor’s “shows you that you can’t put Catholicism in the U.S. in a box.”

Indeed, whatever the level of the nominee’s practice, she seems to represent an enduring aspect of Catholic thought:

“My guess is she’s very much operating in accordance with the commitments of the Catholic social justice tradition which is emphasizing … inclusion, solidarity, justice to those least among us,” Kaveny said. “It’s strand of American Catholic teaching that is somewhat distinct from other Catholic teaching but not incompatible. People emphasize different aspects.”


“‘Different gifts from the same spirit’ to quote St. Paul,” Kaveny added.

The left-leaning folks at Catholics United give also Sotomayor a big hug. CU head Chris Korzen says, “We admire Judge Sotomayor’s reputation for putting aside political beliefs in order to issue sound legal decisions, her commitment to religious liberty, and her significant federal judicial experience. These are precisely the qualities that Catholics look for in those we trust to interpret the law…We call on other leaders within the Catholic community to join us in welcoming Judge Sotomayor’s nomination and to approach her confirmation hearings with civility and reason.”


Korzen may be somewhat idealistic. And Sotomayor’s “gifts,” in Kaveny’s words, may not be those that another strain of Catholics are looking for. But interestingly, Bill Donohue couldn’t find much bad to say about her (just liberals in general), and took note of his own experience in Sotomayor’s Harlem haunts:

On a personal note, I must say that having spent four years in the 1970s teaching in a Catholic elementary school in Spanish Harlem, I loved working with the Puerto Rican people. Indeed, I feel some of the pride that Puerto Ricans rightly feel today. Good for them–this is their special day.

Good for Bill, too. At Catholic World News, the best Phil Lawler could muster was to say Sotomayor “is apparently a lapsed Catholic.”

Most conservative groups seem a bit muzzled by the lack of a track record on abortion, their preeminent issue.

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posted May 26, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Maybe we can use the old Churchy mantra about Sotomayor’s practice..
‘She’s young .. they all come back when they have children’

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Phillip Clark

posted May 26, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Wishing her all the luck in the world! Hopefully her Catholicism will be incentive for her to make her decisions based on human equality and the various specifications of the Constitution. It would be nice to see her get back into her Faith though. Maybe that’s asking too much… =P
By the way, the storm that’s been created by Limabaugh in conservative sectors is absolutely REDICULOUS and UNWARRANTED…shes a clear MODERATE, not a radical “activist” as their trying to portray her. I think I’ll just sit back and laugh at them this time rather than take anything they say personally…

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posted May 26, 2009 at 11:43 pm

I’m thrilled. Simply thrilled.
I think she will be a strong, well-educated and empathetic voice and one that is needed on the USSC.

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posted May 27, 2009 at 7:42 am

I grew up Roman Catholic. (No longer.)
In my growing up, the small town Catholics I knew were much like Sotomayor is described here. We had a lot of people in our church, and only one family had fourteen children. We all knew what was happening. The Pope was welcome to his opinion, but what we did in our bedrooms was our business. And it was that way with the Pope’s opinions about a lot of other things too.
If Roman Catholicism were like that today, I’d still be a Roman Catholic.

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Timothy Cronin

posted May 27, 2009 at 10:12 am

And your preeminent issue David is your obsession with bothering prolife Catholics.

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Clifton Carl

posted May 27, 2009 at 12:22 pm

David is not obsessed with bothering pro-life Catholics. David is simply promoting the natural human disdain for “the other”. A way of thought which is anti-thetical to Christianity. Even when it is dressed up in empiricism and masquerading as solidarity.
Felicitas Niyitegeka of the Auxiliaires de l’Apostolat is a much better teacher than David. She did not abandon “the others” in her care even at the end.
David’s obsession, shared by many Catholic “intellectuals”, is for inclusiveness. That shared basic truths are not as consequential as the ritual. That people should not have to grow and change. That acts such as Felicitas’ count for nothing.

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Moms Hugs aka Eve

posted May 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Judge Sotomayor’s Catholic faith should be given no more cred than that of the five current justices that happen to be Catholic. The current 5 were appointed by non-Catholics, Reagan & Bush I & II because they were conservatives who are also Catholic. They replaced Episcopalians, a Lutheran & Presbyterian. There should be questions whether Catholic dogma and doctrine is influential.
Example: Does Catholicism figure into the many 5:4 decisions? Were many such cases decided by a Catholic or non-Catholic swing vote; e.g. Episcopalian, Justice O’Connor? Do Catholic justices reject Catholics’ historic role of protecting rights of the poor?
Protestants dominated the 110 justices, only 12 being Catholic. Justice Brennan was the sole Catholic in 1987, appointed by Pres. Eisenhower, opposed only by Senator McCarthy, a Wisconsin Catholic (Brennan spoke out against McCarthy’s overzealous investigations).
Justice Brennan was known for stating that ‘judicial activists’ are always on the other side. He wrote the dissenting opinion in a 1988 case that gave government contractors broad immunity from liability for death and injuries. His dissent was aimed at Justice Scalia, appointed by Reagan, who had complained about ‘judicial activism’ in earlier cases protecting civil rights. Would Catholics agree with that decision now considering 18 troops were electrocuted in showers due to negligence on the part of KBR/Halliburton?

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