Divided Allegiance: Judge Alito's Appointment to the Supreme Court
New Catholic Majority Supreme Court Shaping Up
Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer
Southwest Radio Bible Church
On October 31, 2005, Samuel A. Alito, Jr. was nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Although many persons identify this day as Halloween, many Protestants celebrate it as Reformation Day-the birth of the Protestant faith. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic church in Wittenberg, Germany. It is quite ironic that President Bush chose this day to nominate this man whose confirmation would create the first majority-Catholic Supreme Court in the history of the United States. Alito would become the 112th Supreme Court justice and the 12th Catholic on the High Court. He would become the 5th Catholic presently sitting on the Court.
History and Obligations of Statesmen
This nation was founded by men whose public views were deeply enmeshed with their religious lives and values. It is a well known fact that almost every signatory of the Declaration of Independence believed that Christian moral teachings would buttress the newly formed Republic. The signers believed, also, that the Republic's demise would be a result of lawlessness. All three branches of the government, including the judiciary, were to be guided by God and His word. Religious values were to be the fabric of our society and were to control a judge's professional obligations.
Like everyone else, judges will answer to a higher authority. However, problems arise when that higher authority appears to be a mere mortal rather than Almighty God. Can a Catholic-majority Supreme Court disregard the pope on certain conflicting issues or will it reinvent the Constitution so that the pope can reign supreme in this land, as he has in many European countries? Most Americans do not realize the extent of the antagonism that has existed between the claims of the papacy and the sovereign rights of nations.
God provided His design for civil government. Our original system of government-a Republic-originated from the book of Isaiah. The founding fathers applied what they learned from the Bible to establish the greatest form of government ever known to man.
For the LORD is our judge (judicial branch), the LORD is our lawgiver (legislative branch), the LORD is our king (executive branch); he will save us (Isaiah 33:22).
Catholics Banned From Holding Office
The early documents of the various colonies reveal that the founders had very real concerns concerning the divided loyalties of Catholics. Unlike some of the other colonies, Georgia did not establish a state religion. The Protestant settlers were allowed to worship as they pleased, but they felt a very real threat from Catholics who owed their allegiance elsewhere. The original founding documents of the colonies and states prove this. For instance, the Charter of the Georgia Colony in 1732 read:
There shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God, to all persons inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within our said provinces and that all such persons, except papists (Catholics), shall have a free exercise of their religion.
The New Jersey Constitution of 1776 read:
Article XVIII. No Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles;That all persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, and who should demean himself peaceably under the government, should be capable of being elected unto any office of profit or trust.
Many of the other state constitutions read very similar to that of New Jersey. For instance, the North Carolina Constitution of 1776 read: Article XXXII. That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old and New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.
William J. Federer in his book Back Fired has documented the manner in which many of the other state constitutions dealt with these very same issues. There was a very real fear concerning the split loyalties of those professing the Catholic religion.
Triumph for the Conservative Movement?
The last two men recommended by President Bush for the Supreme Court have been Catholics, nominated, in part, for their perceived position on Roe v. Wade. Apparently, President Bush may have nominated Harriet Miers in order to pacify those who wanted another woman to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Under pressure from both the left and right, Miers, on October 27, 2005, withdrew her nomination. Now, the vast majority of conservative Christians and legal watchdog groups have proclaimed Samuel Alito's nomination as a triumph for the conservative movement. But is it?
Among conservatives who are disregarding the religious affiliations of the Supreme Court justices, a nominee's perceived position on Roe v. Wade seems to be the key issue in supporting Alito's nomination. Assuming his confirmation, Catholics will comprise 56% of the Court-a simple majority on every issue.
Catholic-Chief Justice John Roberts
Jewish-Justice Stephen G. Breyer
Jewish-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Catholic-Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
Catholic-Justice Antonin Scalia
Episcopalian-Justice David H. Souter
Protestant-Justice John Paul Stevens
Catholic-Justice Clarence Thomas
Catholic-Justice-elect Samuel Alito
History of Anti-abortion Republican Appointments
Alito's nomination does not, however, insure that Roe v. Wade will be reversed. In 1992, the Supreme Court decision concerning the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 revealed how unpredictable Supreme Court Justice appointments can be. The case was considered a seminal one in determining the outcome of Roe v. Wade with an ostensibly conservative Republican-appointed Court. The Court only contained three obvious supporters for Roe-Blackmun, Stevens and O'Connor.
The outcome of this first real challenge of Roe v. Wade, with eight Republican-appointed justices, seemed obvious. Five of the justices had been appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush. However, Justices Kennedy (Catholic) and Souter (Episcopalian) both voted with the three Roe supporters to uphold the "constitutional right" to have an abortion, preserving the 5-4 Court vote in favor of a woman's "right" to have an abortion.
Interestingly, Anthony Kennedy originally voted with Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Byron White and Chief Justice William Rehnquist to uphold all of the Pennsylvania abortion regulations. Had Kennedy not switched sides, this decision would have effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. However, Kennedy did change his vote at the last minute and joined with two fellow Regan-Bush Justices, Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter, upholding Roe.
Will Alito Really Make a Difference?
According to USA Today, O'Connor's departure from the Supreme Court still leaves five current justices who have backed abortion rights-Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Souter and Stevens. In other words, Alito will make little difference concerning Roe v. Wade, if the court continues to vote as it has historically.
Conservative proponents, not considering religious affiliation, have said that Alito will enable the court to return from its drift to the left and reestablish itself as a court that bases its decisions on the rule of law. During the last four decades, lower court judges and the Supreme Court have been usurping authority from the other branches of government. Too many judges have used their respective position to write social policy, thus failing in their duty to simply interpret and apply the law as it was written. [See box for Judicial Precedent]
With a hope toward ending abortions and judicial activism, many Christians do not understand why any Christian, with an understanding of the political and social issues facing America, would express his displeasure with the nomination of a moral conservative for a seat on the Supreme Court. The issue is rather clear-cut. Moral conservative values do not necessarily mean Christian values. In the name of saving babies (which we all support), will we eventually see our liberties eroded by those belonging to a church-state religion?
There are many repugnant organizations that oppose the nomination of Alito, including the detestable ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Feminist Majority Foundation, National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the liberals in Congress. Those of us who oppose Alito's nomination, based on conservative Christian values, are in no other way aligned with the above-named organizations. As repugnant as any alignment with these organizations would be, spiritual principals must always supersede everything else. We must never allow political expediency to sidetrack us from being a "voice of one crying in the wilderness." John the Baptist cried out "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." This world is on a very crooked path right now and what seems right sometimes is very wrong.
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12).
Alito should be commended for his judicial restraint thus far,-that is, for his adhering to the idea that if the legislature didn't say it and there isn't a judicial precedent, a judge can't go very far. However, everyone knows that it is nearly impossible to predict how a justice will vote. Generally, justices, once on the court have tended to unpredictably lean to the left. The potential for damage by this court's leaning left or right is quite alarming. The Court will be controlled by those belonging to a religion that has notoriously usurped the rights of the people in order to establish a church-state religion influenced or controlled by Rome.
The Bible says that the Lord is our judge, lawgiver and king, providing the model for our judicial, legislative and executive branches. The sinfulness of man necessitates that these three branches be divided among several groups to insure that absolute power is not centrally located within a single group. It also affords checks and balances among the various branches. Problems arise when one group usurps the authority of the other.
The role of the Court is constitutional adjudication, but it seems obvious that one's personal opinions and allegiances influence his or her judicial decisions. Does a Catholic justice inherently have a divided allegiance between a foreign power and the United States? Will this dual loyalty affect his judicial philosophy? How will he rule when his allegiance to this foreign power-the Pope-conflicts with his duties to uphold the Constitution?
The Pope and the Supreme Court
Our government's present support of the Catholic church is shown in the following shameful and frightening example. In a recent lawsuit, Plaintiffs claimed that a Columbian-born seminarian on assignment to Houston's St. Francis de Sales molested them. Juan Carlos Patino-Arango allegedly molested the three boys during counseling sessions in the 1990s. He has been indicted in a criminal case and is a fugitive from justice.
The story would be hardly newsworthy since it resembles the news reports in almost every diocese in America. However, the current pope has been served with papers named as a defendant in the case. An issue in the lawsuit cites a May 18, 2001, letter from then-Cardinal Ratzinger, written in Latin to bishops around the world, explaining that "grave" crimes such as sexual abuse of minors would be handled by the congregation (that is, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and that the proceedings of special church tribunals handling the cases were also subject to "pontifical secret." In other words, these cases were to be decided in Rome by the Vatican in secret and not within jurisdictional boundaries of the various countries, including the U.S.
The U.S. government told a Texas court that Pope Benedict XVI should be given immunity from the lawsuit which accuses him of conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of the three boys by the seminarian. The assistant U.S. Attorney General Peter Keisler says that the pope enjoys immunity as the head of state-the Vatican.
Hopefully, everyone knows who Keisler's boss is. Wikipedia online encyclopedia describes Keisler's boss Alberto Gonzales as follows: "Despite keeping a low profile about his religious affiliation, Gonzales has described himself as a Catholic."
The boys' lawsuit will most likely fail because of established precedent and the fact that the United States has maintained diplomatic relations with the Vatican since 1984. The Catholic church has always been exempt from the interpretation of the 1st Amendment establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. Rome is the only religious institution that has embassies and ambassadors in Washington. The United States has the same in Rome.
According to Article 48 of the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988: "the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world." The statement sounds harmless until one realizes that this organization was secretly policing the pedophiles within the Catholic church (and doing a poor job of it, as many known molesters were left at their posts or transferred from diocese to diocese).
The Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition
Prior to becoming pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) headed the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This Congregation was originally called the Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition. Pope Paul III established this Congregation on July 21, 1542 "to maintain and defend the integrity of the faith and to examine and proscribe errors and false doctrines." In other words, until being chosen the current pope, Pope Benedict XVI was the head of an organization originally established to "proscribe" (condemn) errors during the Inquisition.
On September 5, 2000, Ratzinger's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released Dominus Iesus which states that the salvation offered by Christ flows through the Catholic church. According to Catholic theologians, this is not a new teaching but the reaffirmation of a traditional teaching that has been downplayed since the Second Vatican Council. After an outcry from multiple fronts, on October 1, 2005, Pope John Paul, himself, reminded his listeners that he had given his personal approval of the publication of Domimus Iesus.
John Paul explained that the Church teaches that all salvation flows through Christ, and thus through His Mystical Body which is the Catholic church. Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) remarked that Protestant leaders had no reason to be offended by the notion that the Church is the sole means to salvation, since this has been the constant teaching of the Catholic church for centuries.
When Dominus Iesus first appeared, it was intended primarily for an Asian audience. On that continent, where Catholics are a small minority, some Catholic theologians have advanced the notion that in order to avoid conflicts with the dominant popular culture, missionaries should introduce the "Gospel" as only one among many possible paths toward salvation. In other words, they are to conceal the true teachings of Rome.
This document is no different from Pope Boniface VIII's words in 1302: "Furthermore we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff."
How will a Catholic Court rule?
In United States v. Ballard, in 1944, the Supreme Court ruled that persons espousing religious teachings cannot be prosecuted for fraud. The beliefs of one person may seem preposterous to another, but religious liberty demands the "widest toleration of conflicting views." This ruling protects against trials for heresy. Only time will tell how a Catholic majority Supreme Court will rule in the future when the Catholic hierarchy teaches that salvation only comes through the Catholic church and many teachings of non-Catholics are considered heresy by Rome. This would include the teaching of salvation by grace; as well as, the rejection of infant baptism, the priesthood, etc.
The New York Catechism states the following: "The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth...by divine right the Pope has supreme and full power in faith, in morals over each and every pastor and his flock. He is the true vicar, the head of the entire church, the father and teacher of all Christians. He is the infallible ruler, the founder of dogmas, the author of and the judge of councils; the universal ruler of truth, the arbiter of the world, the supreme judge of heaven and earth, the judge of all, being judged by no one, God himself on earth."
The End Times Prophecy
The presumed papal authority to modify or change laws has many similarities to that prophesied by Daniel concerning the end of times. Daniel prophesied about the ten kings that would arise out of the ten horns of the kingdom: and another king will rise after the ten that will be distinct from the first. He will subdue three of the kings.
Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
The similarities between the established authority of the pope and Daniel's prophesy are no accident. The prophecy points to a worldwide religious political figure who will one day soon control the earth.
Adam Smith, author of the classic Wealth of Nations, wrote over a century ag ".the constitution of the Church of Rome may be considered the most formidable combination that was ever formed against the authority and security of civil government, as well as against the liberty, reason and happiness of mankind."  Will judges increasingly have to choose between their allegiance to Rome and the Constitution? Will a Catholic majority on the Supreme Court be forced to make a choice between paying homage to the pope or to that which they have sworn to defend and uphold? According to Rome, a Catholic's eternal destiny hangs in the balance should he choose to disregard the "Vicar of Christ" who claims universal jurisdiction over all princes and kings of the earth. It is a real problem when an individual believes that he must make a choice between remaining Catholic and refusing to submit to the pope's authority.
In addition to the Supreme Court, Catholics also make up almost one-third of the 109th U.S. Congress and almost half of the governors, including the President's brother in Florida-Jeb Bush. As Catholics gain more control of the three branches of government, as well as the state governing bodies, the spiritual landscape of America could begin to look quite different in this country very soon!
Judicial precedent was discarded back in 1961 when the court held that the state of Maryland could not require applicants for public office to swear that they believed in the existence of God. The court unanimously ruled that a religious test violated the Establishment Clause. From here the Court moved into overturning precedent in the government controlled school systems. The following year in Engel v. Vitale, the Supreme Court ruled that school prayer was unconstitutional. The year after that, the court ignored all precedent and found that Bible reading over school intercoms was unconstitutional. A brief synopsis of the other rulings that have helped spiritually and morally bankrupt this country follows:
· 1968-The Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot ban the teaching of evolution in public schools.
· 1980-Court found that posting of the Ten Commandments in schools was unconstitutional.
· 1985-Court finds that a state law enforcing a moment of silence in schools had a religious purpose and is therefore unconstitutional.
· 1987-Court finds that a state law requiring equal treatment for creationism has a religious purpose and is therefore unconstitutional.
· 1989-Court finds that a nativity scene displayed inside a government building violates the Establishment Clause.
· 1992-Court finds that prayer at public school graduation ceremonies violates the Establishment Clause and is therefore unconstitutional.
· 2000-Court rules that student-led prayers at public school football games violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
"I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the hearts of the youth." -Martin Luther
© 2005 by Dr. Douglas D. Stauffer and Southwest Radio Church