Last week, I had the honor of addressing the judges and staff of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. also spoke at the conference and I was in attendance when he made his comments defending the legitimacy of the Court. Those comments took on added significance when, the following day, Vice President Kamala Harris lashed out at the justices as “activists” and questioned the integrity of the Court. Now, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus has criticized Chief Justice Roberts as missing the point in his defense of the Court. I wanted to briefly respond on why the column replicates the historical and legal flaws of the Harris comments.
In her column, What Chief Justice Roberts Misses, Marcus writes that
“[Roberts] defense badly misses the point of why the court has fallen so far in public esteem…The chief justice’s convenient framing fails to fully capture or acknowledge what’s going on. Yes, a majority of the public is angry about the court’s decision in June to eliminate constitutional protection for the right to abortion. But the bottom-line result isn’t the only reason for the fury…The inflamed public reaction stems also from the fact that the law changed because the court’s membership changed.”
I understand Marcus’ concerns and she has covered the Court for many years in her distinguished career.
However, the objection to shifts in jurisprudence ignores prior periods where transformative rulings followed shifts in favor of the left on the Court. The Warren Court handed down a series of such decisions changing a wide array of areas, including some with sweeping political implications. That period continues to be celebrated, not condemned, on the left.
Likewise, the left has repeatedly called for packing the Court to muscle through changes on partisan lines. (To her credit, Marcus has opposed such court packing calls).
Moreover, liberal justices continue to vote to overturn precedent as they await a new majority. Former justice Justice Stephen Breyer routinely voted in dissent on death penalty cases despite decades of precedent supporting the right of states to impose capital punishment. If the Court’s majority shifted, he would have set aside decades of precedent.
While denouncing the “activist” conservative justices for overturning cases, Democratic senators and leaders have demanded that cases like Heller and Citizen’s United be overturned. Indeed, Hillary Clinton declared that she would only nominate justices who would overturn Citizen’s United.
During the confirmation hearing for Justice Kavanaugh, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) demanded that Kavanaugh promise to respect stare decisis on cases like Roe, but then called for overturning cases like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Democratic groups often decry the conservative majority as “partisan” while demanding the packing of the court to guarantee an immediate liberal majority.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor has assured liberals in public speeches that “mistakes” in such high-profile opinions can be “corrected” by the Court in later decisions. That sounds like a new majority would produce a new result.
Dean Erwin Chemerinsky celebrated that “Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissent, in which she said, ‘Trinity Lutheran v. Comer was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.’” While that appears a paraphrasing by Chemerinsky, Sotomayor makes clear in the recent Carson opinion that “this Court should not have started down this path” in Trinity Lutheran and clearly rejects its hold on the Court. Not surprisingly, Chemerinsky approves of that position.
Yet, Chemerinsky denounced the conservative justices as “partisan hacks.”
I do not view Justice Sotomayor as any more of a “hack” than I do her conservative colleagues. They are all interpreting the Constitution in what they believe is a faithful understanding of its language and values.
Marcus insists that Sotomayor “has aptly termed a ‘restless and newly constituted court’ could finally work its will, and so it did. That is the very definition of an ‘activist court,’ as Vice President Harris recently described it.” If so, Sotomayor herself would qualify as activist if she, as indicated, would vote to overturn these cases. That vote, however, would be celebrated on the left despite coming with a new majority.
Marcus insists that the Court’s “behavior is so difficult to defend. The fault, dear Justice, is not in the public but among your brethren.” It is not particularly difficult to defend. The Constitution invests the president with the power to nominate new justices because he (with the Vice President) are the only nationally elected officials in our government. The intent was to allow the Court to change with the country with the new leaders selected by the public. Both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates (as well as senatorial candidates) have run on pledges to change the Court majority to change precedent.
For the justices themselves, their “behavior” is not “difficult to defend” when they keep faith with their oath to “faithfully and impartially” interpret the law. It is bizarre to argue that they should vote for some interpretation of the Constitution that they believe is wrong and unfounded just to preserve precedent. If that view had prevailed in the past, Brown v. Board of Education would have upheld the racist precepts of “separate but equal” in Plessy v. Ferguson. When it comes to fundamental rights, justices should faithfully interpret the Constitution.
For these reasons, I believe that it is the critics of the Court who are “missing the point” over the shifts in jurisprudence that comes with changes on the Court. There are good faith reasons to object to the Dobbs decision. Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts said in his remarks that such criticisms are not only appropriate but important in our system. What is inappropriate is to attack the integrity of the justices simply because you disagree with their judicial interpretations.
141 thoughts on ““Badly Misses the Point”: Post Columnist Hits Roberts after his Defense of the Court’s Integrity”
I wish for a Utopia, where judges, police, and government was not necessary. Unfortunately humans suck at self rule, but think they should rule over others. There are no easy answers. The days of compromise are long gone. When the party in power, can change the definition of when life begins, a few million humans, get no say, as to their murder by abortion.
Someone else had thoughts like your 260+ years ago.
“what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. ”
James Madison Federalist 51
The drama. Now a out have some balls in the firstinstznce? Instead of playing victim…. Because you skank won’t get victim from the local sheriff.
About attacks on the Supreme Court: Eliahu Yale of law school fame spoke of his days of law practice. He said about 99% of his advice was “your a damn fool and you ought to quit it”.
“There are good faith reasons to object to the Dobbs decision.”
Really? List one.
I did not see a single valid attack on the Dobbs draft, and the same has held true for Dobbs:
1: Abortion was clearly illegal at all points when the US Constitution was written. See Alito’s discussion of the fact that a doctor killing someone while giving an abortifactant, and ANY stage of the pregnancy, was a crime.
Whereas doing legal surgery, if the patient died it was not a crime.
I’ve yet to see a single “historian” try to challenge that
2: Stare decisis for an obviously wrong and illegitimate decision is nothing more than an argument for judicial dictatorship. Which is the opposite of a “good faith” argument
“’There are good faith reasons to object to the Dobbs decision.’” (JT)
“Really? List one.”
That Dobbs is based on a fundamentally flawed view of the nature and purpose of the U.S. Constitution.
It is *not* a Royal Charter of permissions. It is not a comprehensive list of rights. It is not a limitation on private action. It is a limitation on the government’s use of its police powers. Unless the Constitution expressly permits a particular government action (e.g., criminalizing abortion), then government (any government) cannot take that action.
Dobbs’ bankrupt premise turns on its head the proper relationship between the individual and the state: Government exists by permission. Individuals exist by right.
“That Dobbs is based on a fundamentally flawed view of the nature and purpose of the U.S. Constitution.”
Sam, how can that be? The federal government released control over abortion. Nothing you said answers the question.
“Nothing you said answers the question.”
Nothing you’ve written addresses my point — about the nature and purpose of the Constitution, and about how Dobbs corrupts that purpose.
Sam, the Constitution is mostly a document restraining the Federal Government. Roe was a bad decision on Constitutional grounds. If Roe had said abortion could only take place within 72 hours, based on what you have said, logically it would sound as if you supported that decision. But that would further government’s abridgment of rights. The ruling against Roe does no such thing. It leaves all the rights intact.
Sam, you have that exactly backwards. Sates have a general police power. They don’t need permission to make laws. They can make any laws they like, unless the US constitution forbids them. They are entitled to ban abortion for the same reason they’re entitled to ban other kinds of murder, or rape, or selling nitrous oxide cartridges to minors, or any of the other things that states routinely do ban, and have done since before there even was a US constitution.
For 49 years the US Supreme Court forbade them from banning abortion, by pretending there was something in the US constitution forbidding such bans. Now the court looked at the constitution and found no such provision, either explicit or implied, not even hiding in a penumbra somewhere, so the law reverted to how it had been from the beginning until 1973: States are free to ban abortion or permit it, or anything in between, just as they can with anything else.
“Sates have a general police power. They don’t need permission to make laws. They can make any laws they like, unless the US constitution forbids them.”
So states are little fiefdoms? And the people living in those states only have those rights specifically listed in the Constitution? Whatever political system you’re thinking of, it’s not the one created by the Founders.
Sam, states were little fiefdoms in a sense. That has not changed since the nation’s birth, where each state was a laboratory learning how to be successful. The only thing under discussion is the Constitution, not the general powers of the states.
“. . . not the general powers of the states.”
And, yet, with respect to Dobbs, that is precisely the issue.
In a constitutionally limited republic, state government power is limited by the constitution, just as federal power is.
That is a basic principle of our political system. I can understand, though, why some conservatives wish to ignore that principle.
The federal government has limited powers, whereas the Constitution states what the federal government can do. There are no federal laws governing abortion.
Roe was a bad decision. You never answered the question: “If Roe had said abortion could only take place within 72 hours” would you feel the same about the SC decision regarding Roe? You never responded to my remark contradicting what you said, “Sam, states were little fiefdoms in a sense.”
Do you wish to provide the federal government with more power than it has today? That is where your argument leads, and it leads to an activist court.
#10 “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The best and most comprehensive criticism I have read of the Dobbs majority opinion is the Dobbs dissenting opinion.
Speaking of the Washington “Democracy Dies in Darkness” Post, Jeff “the Teflon Oligarch” Bezos purchased the Post in 2013 for $250 million. A rounding error compared to Amazon’s market cap and his own personal wealth.
How much have Mr. Bezos and Amazon’s investors benefitted from the progressive halo conferred by the Post’s unabashed, far left ideology? Was his purchase a strategic move befitting the vision of the man who grew Amazon from a niche online book seller into the market behemoth that it is today? As the hoary old saying goes, was Mr. Bezos playing chess while the rest of us were playing checkers? Perhaps the journalists over at the Post can give us a fact check.
Here’s a thought experiment. Compare the treatment afforded Mr. Bezos and Amazon to the newfound progressive revulsion for Elon “Savior of the Climate Change Universe Until He Turned Apostate” Musk ever since Mr. Musk had the temerity to question the progressive pieties. Of course, eligibility for massive federal subsidies is a great way to keep the carmakers in line. Or any business, for that matter.
A word to the wise is sufficient. Especially when we’re at war with fascism. Ain’t no mullarkey there. Right, Uncle Joe?
Article I s5
“Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,”
“…the law changed because the court’s membership changed.”
No it did NOT! A law did not exist. A law could exist either at the national level. But, to date, the “right” to abortion does not have sufficient backing. So, the States now can individually decide, just like other issues not specifically addressed in the Constitution, per the 10th Amendment
Alan, we’ve never seen your name before. Just popped out of nowhere?
Maybe they are one of the hundreds of Anonymouses that comment here because they are afraid to used their name.
“[T]he States now can individually decide, just like other issues not specifically addressed in the Constitution . . .”
On every issue “not specifically addressed in the Constitution?” Of just abortion?
Smells a lot like: The ends justifies the means. Which, of course, is an unprincipled position.
God not the idiot southern strategy argument again.
Any left wing nut pushing “southern strategy” should be tarred and feathered for idiocy.
Republicans did slowly take over the south – just as they did in the midwest and are doing in the rust belt today.
It was an incredibly slow process. Republicans did not win the south by appealing to racists – Democrats owned the racists lock stock and barrel. Republicans won offices in the south one at a time. They defeated racist democrats in the south one at a time.
In 2010 Robert Byrd – esteemed Democrats and one of the longest serving senators finally retired.
Byrd was a grand cyclops in the KKK.
Republicans defeated racist democrats accross the country – including the south – one at a time.
It is not republican governors pundits, and leaders that get caught in blackface – it is democrats and progressives.
At the same time as you say Republicans were pushing some purportedly racist southern strategy – Joe Biden was in bed with southern racist democrats,
“Long-time cotton planter James O. Eastland puffed on a bulging cigar in the U.S. Senate dining hall in Washington, D.C., during dinner one evening, or as the balding 73-year-old senator called it, “sup’uh.” In a few short months, the powerful Mississippi Democrat would retire, closing the book on a political career that he began and grew by using overtly racist appeals and outspoken opposition to civil rights.
#On that evening in 1978, though, the powerful Dixiecrat would once again offer counsel to one of his favorite young mentees. Soon after 35-year-old Delaware freshman Sen. Joseph Biden joined him,”
As is typical a response that really says nothing beyond that you disagree.
You can not even note what you disagree with.
It is little wonder that those on the left advocate censorship.
There unable to make an argument.
God forbid others should be allowed to expose the lack of ability on the left.
VERY WELL SAID, PROF. TUR;LEY……..and to further put things into perspectrive, the role of ‘Activists’ is Best defined and exemplified by Kamala Harris in action procuring Bail Funds for all of the BLM Rioting Destructive Pyromanic Looters right before she was rewarded for her ‘activism’ thereof by becoming VP….
Seriously? Roberts must have been impeached for gross malfeasance, and nullifying and voiding the Constitution – Obamacare and its “exchanges” will NEVER be constitutional.
To act unconstitutionally, as did Chief Justice Roberts and Senator John McCain, is to act as an illicit, actionable, impeachable despot, tyrant and self-proclaimed dictator.
Nowhere does the Constitution mandate or allow Congress to tax for individual welfare, specific welfare, particular welfare, favor or charity, or to regulate charity.
Congress has the power to tax for ONLY “…general Welfare…,” or infrastructure which is used by ALL and which benefits ALL.
Roberts must have done his constitutional duty to exercise Judicial Review, and he must have obeyed his sworn oath to support the clear meaning and intent of the Constitution.
Roberts must have spoken and written pervasively of the immutable and irrefutable unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney was clear and resolute as the last Chief Justice to take the Constitution and his sworn duty seriously.
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney vigorously exercised his power of Judicial Review, as all Justices must.
“The clause in the Constitution which authorizes the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is in the ninth section of the first article. This article is devoted to the Legislative Department of the United States, and has not the slightest reference to the Executive Department.”
“I can see no ground whatever for supposing that the President in any emergency or in any state of things can authorize the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or arrest a citizen except in aid of the judicial power.”
“I have exercised all the power which the Constitution and laws confer on me, but that power has been resisted by a force too strong for me to overcome.”
– Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, May 28, 1861
Nicely put, Professor. Yours is a sound voice for the rule of law & the reasonable man in a sea of unreasoning men.
“FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORM FUNDAMENTAL LAW?”
Is it your “reason” or the Constitution which holds dominion in the United States of America?
Is it “reasonable” to threaten to “fundamentally transform” a nation’s fundamental law, aka Constitution?
Under the dominion of the Constitution as “fundamental law,” is someone who embraces his antithetical declaration to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” a patriot or the direct and mortal enemy of America?
There is nothing reasonable about an America that is far and completely outside the boundaries of the very conservative Constitution of the United Sates of America.
George: I agree. But something happened to that central government of specified but limited powers.
Turley claims that Marcus ignored “transformative rulings followed shifts in favor of the left on the Court. The Warren Court handed down a series of such decisions changing a wide array of areas, including some with sweeping political implications. That period continues to be celebrated, not condemned, on the left.” Turley fails to describe what these “transformative rulings” are, but they involve things like civil rights, which everyone, not just “the left” should celebrate. And, it’s sad that Turley is now picking up the “us vs. the Left” mantra of the Hate Network.
Tell us, Turley, has any prior SCOTUS actually TAKEN AWAY a right found to exist under the Constitution and which was repeatedly affirmed for about 50 years? No, that never happened, so today’s little paid piece again falls flat Just more red meat for the disciples.
It was poorly decided then and upheld for years because of a majority that believed in results more than the Constitution. It’s back with the States, where it belongs. Get over it
“Tell us, Turley, has any prior SCOTUS actually TAKEN AWAY a right found to exist under the Constitution”
You have to point that out. Don’t forget to show your work.
How do you prove a negative? Roe found the right to abortion, prior to the age of fetal viability, to be protected under the Constitution as among the rights covered by privacy and liberty. Read Roe for details. The Trump SCOTUS took that right away, something the SCOTUS has never done before. The majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, disagree.
Now, Republicans claim they’re going to pass a federal statute outlawing abortion in all 50 states, if they seize power. THAT’S their real agenda. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
I am a Republican. Nonetheless, sometimes I hope that the Democrats will pass a “right to abortion” federal law soon because I want to bring back abortion because it disproportionately extinguishes future Democrats.
Democrats do control house and senate and white house now, yes? So they could codify Roe v Wade., Why haven’t they? They’ve had decades to do so.
Roe found the right to abortion,
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people
Rights retained by the people, not handed out at Halloween by SCOTUS
The People failed to do the work to retain/. Hence NOT protected by the Constitution. The good news, according to Democrats over the last 50 years the people widely want abortion up to the moment the umbilical cord is cut, so legislation at the state level should be in place by Easter. Laws are so much easier to create, than a Right Whataconcept! laws created by the people and not unelected Judges.
Roe found the right to abortion, prior to the age of fetal viability
I especially like the constitutional doctrine of fetal viability.
Privacy and liberty, can be extrapolated out of the 4th amendment prohibition on the govt from un reasonable search and seizures, It’s a stretch, but I’ll concede the point. But fetal viability? now you have the court drafting legislation. Viability of any sort far exceeds any legal or constitutional foundation. The PEOPLE, through their elected Representatives, have that power. The People have never delegated that power to SCOTUS, or any Judicial Branch entity.
Everyone really needs to change their perspective from individual rights, To Delegated Power.
Where in the constitution is a right to abortion ?
You can beleive abortions are good or evil.
But they are not in the constition.
And yes the courts have taken away rights that exist in the constitution. The Roosevelt court decimated myriads of individual rights empowering government over the individual.
Could you please point me to case (or cases) so I can take a look. Thanks.
I forget the cite (Hell, I am 92 years old; gimme a break) but the line of cases that first permitted Congress to surrender its lawmaking power to the agencies and ultimately (Chevron) bowed to their supposed expertise took away my right to approve or disapprove legislation. That is one. Instance.
I am not sure what you are asking.
But if you are after cases in which the Court abridged actual constitutional rights.
Cases which STILL are precedent.
Bell v Buck.
Wickard V Filburn
Chae Chan Ping
Hans V lousiana
Building and Loan V Blaisdell
Jones V Mayer
Buckley V Valeo
McKlesky V Kemp
NFIB V Sebeluius
Would be a start
The criteria for a good supreme court decision is not whether it is celebrated or condemned.
That is quite litterally the rule of man not law.
If the court is there solely to rubber stamp the will of the majority – why not put everything to a referendum ?
Are you in the slightest familiar with reality ? History ?
Try Dredd Scott.
Try Wickard V Filburn.
There are probably several hundred SCOTUS decisions that have taken away rights previously recognized.
And unlike Roe – many of them actually mentioned in the constitution.
Picking a Justice based upon skin color and plumbing seems a rather stupid method to me.
Seeking the best and brightest with a proven record of jurisprudence would seem a better way to start the selection process and ignore skin and plumbing altogether.
I see it as being very unfair to the Nominee that results from the Identity Politics method of choosing….as no matter their actual record….the immediate perception stems from the selection method.
Imagine being Ketanji Jackson. Selected, as a political prop, to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. Why? Because she is a black woman. More importantly, a black woman that can be counted on to reliably carry water for her sponsors on the progressive left.
Her colleagues know it. The American people know it. Deep down inside, Jackson knows it too. Her appointment will forever be soiled by that knowledge. Jackson, along with the historically disastrous selection of Kamala Harris, are exhibits A and B for the folly and deeply rooted racism inherent in the ideology of the progressive left.
More and more Americans are calling for reform. For fundamental change in the unbelievably sad, fatally flawed, and deeply cynical race and sex-based preferences foisted upon us, at all levels of society, by the progressive elite.
How do we right these historic wrongs? Move past inherently racist and sexist pigeonholing based on politically useful but immutable characteristics like skin pigmentation and sex. Pick the best and the brightest. For our nation and our future.
It really is time for hope and change. That really is a great slogan. We’re just fourteen years too late.
You really have this EXACTLY BACKWARDS. Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are the REAL political props, nominated after vetting by the Federalist Society, primarily because of their previously-stated positions against the right to abortion. Their presence on the Court is wrongful. Gorsuch took Merrick Garland’s place by political chicanery, and Barrett got onto the Court after McConnell reversed himself on whether a SCOTUS nominee could be voted on when the next election is near–in Barrett’s case it was weeks away. In Garland’s case, it was a year away. If that doesn’t stink of politics–what does? Then there’s Kavanaugh, whose nomination was shoved through despite the fact that there were dozens of witnesses who begged to be heard about his character. They are the ones there to “relliably carry water for [their] sponsors”.
MOST AMERICANS disagree with their radical right-wing agenda, especially in reversing Roe, the law of the land for 50 years, so you and your ilk do not speak for”we” in righting the “wrongs” they are inflicting on us, the majority. You speak of picking the “best and brightest”. There is no other SCOTUS candidate who is MORE qualified than Justice Jackson, certainly none of those who took away a woman’s right to choose..
I had the privilege of taking some courses taught by Professor Saul Brenner at UNC-Charlotte in the early 1970’s….and learned a great deal about the workings of the Supreme Court and how Justices vote on Cases.
I would encourage finding his Book on Judicial Behavior if you can find one and consider the information. he provides.
Some other sources…..
“Indeed, Hillary Clinton declared that she would only nominate justices who would overturn Citizen’s United.”
Hilarious, the way she outspent Trump in 2016 on Citizen United dollars. These people.
Republicans are to blame for the collapse of the United States. Democrats today are largely atheists or moral relativists. As the title of the 1972 book about Communists states, “You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists) “. So too with the Left. They are heathens (in the polite sense of the word), philistines, crass, narcissists, consumed with self, advocate termination of life of the most defenseless on both extremes: new life in the womb and elderly individuals, always using euphemisms “choice”, “euthanasia”, etc
Republicans were once a godly people ala Abraham Lincoln. No one is perfect but at least a man or woman was known to have a moral compass, followed objective truths revealed in natural law or the physical sciences, e,g. Fertilization of a woman’s ovum by a sperm, definition of a woman, COVID vaccines and mitigating factors, etc, and did not succumb to their every whim, urge, dysregulated inclination. We were once a polite, deferring, wholesome society until the Left took us in the 1950s to a place where we no longer recognize America.
Republicans are no better than Democrats: Donald Trump is a moral disgrace. Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, Helen Chenoweth-Hage, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Sarah Palin, and too many Republicans thinkers to list, e.g. Rush Limbaugh, et al. No one should be defending Donald Trump yet ….and yet…..
The damage is too extensive to reverse course though I wish it were not so. Youth today have followed the paths of their atheistic, agnostic, moral relativistic, intellectually shallow parents. One has to reach rock bottom, as Alcoholics Anonymous teaches, before an addict realizes they are not at the center of the universe and consequently takes action to rectify their course. The chances of 200+ million adult and young Americans suddenly having a metanoia and adopting the ways that the Founding Fathers instilled in our republic, from Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington to Abraham Lincoln are slim to none. I wish it were not so but the only trajectory left is watching our nation auguring down for the ground at break neck speed like a military jet, until the eventual boom happens.
Americans wanted to do it their way. Just like the Old Testament Jews, they never learned from their history.
Republicans like to pretend they have the moral high ground, but they’re really just full of it like Democrats.
One hundred thirty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln asked whether a nation “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” could “long endure”. President Lincoln’s question is no less a question for the present generation of Americans. Democracy cannot be sustained without a shared commitment to certain moral truths about the human person and human community. The basic question before a democratic society is: “how ought we to live together?” In seeking an answer to this question, can society exclude moral truth and moral reasoning? Can the Biblical wisdom which played such a formative part in the very founding of your country be excluded from that debate?
Would not doing so mean that America’s founding documents no longer have any defining content, but are only the formal dressing of changing opinion? Would not doing so mean that tens of millions of Americans could no longer offer the contribution of their deepest convictions to the formation of public policy? Surely it is important for America that the moral truths which make freedom possible should be passed on to each new generation. Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.
8. How appropriate is Saint Paul’s charge to Timothy! “Guard the rich deposit of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us” (2Tm. 1: 14). That charge speaks to parents and teachers; it speaks in a special and urgent way to you, my brother Bishops, Successors of the Apostles. Christ asks us to guard the truth because, as he promised us: “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn. 8: 32). Depositum custodi! We must guard the truth that is the condition of authentic freedom, the truth that allows freedom to be fulfilled in goodness.
We must guard the deposit of divine truth handed down to us in the Church, especially in view of the challenges posed by a materialistic culture and by a permissive mentality that reduces freedom to license.
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
Sunday, 8 October 1995
Estovir, you are being overly judgmental. I don’t believe most people believe man lives without sin, thereby forcing us, who are sinners as well, to look at the world with a bit more love than loathing. If all men had to be perfect to lead, we would have no leaders, and we would all be in Castro’s prison.
We, therefore, have to accept the imperfections around us and think to ourselves, would the world be better off without Bartolo Longos?
ESTOVIR.. Time to wake up and see that most ‘Republicans’ are part of ‘the silent majority,’ just ordinary God-fearing, law abiding middle class folks… they do not burn down buildings, break into stores and loot…or give hate speeches.. they simply work hard every day at ordinary non-elitist jobs… the kind of jobs that have made America what it is …What you saw on 1/6 with the dramatic smoke filled photos courtesy of the Capitol police tear gas, etc.. was extremists from both Right and Left… very sad for ALL of us.. while hundreds of thousands of ordinary marchers were as aghast as you and I… Your judgmental attitude simply inflames these extremists even more….
“We must guard the deposit of divine truth handed down to us in the Church . . .”
The Church deposited its “divine truth” throughout the Dark Ages, and used that “divine truth” to punish Galileo (among many others). That didn’t work out so well for those who love this-worldly freedom.