Despite Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s long record of judicial activism subverting core Catholic values, the Notre Dame administration assembled half the campus to celebrate her life and career.
NOTRE DAME, IN – At the instance of Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the university last Monday once again celebrated a prominent champion of the right to abortion and same-sex marriage and opponent of religious liberty, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She appeared before a large and appreciative audience in a session moderated by Judge Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Williams, a university trustee, a Catholic and an alumna who has just presided over a same-sex marriage. We consider this surprising episode first. The September 11 New York Times reported
Michael Robert Jarecki and Chirag Gopal Badlani were married Sept. 10 in Chicago. Judge Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, for whom Mr. Badlani was a law clerk until 2012, officiated at the Chicago Cultural Center.
When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics. What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth.
The Ginsburg EventJustice Ginsburg appeared before an audience of some 7,500 in the Purcell Pavilion on September 12. She was scheduled to appear before a law school audience earlier in the afternoon. Such an appearance, in an academic setting and with an audience of law students and professionals, is unexceptionable. It is a university acting as a university. But the featured performance was a different matter. It was altogether congratulatory and celebratory — praise and admiration for Justice Ginsburg and no doubt elation that once again a prominent public figure had visited Notre Dame. The appearance was a disappointment to anyone who came expecting to hear a substantive address or a rekindling of the political fireworks Justice Ginsburg set off by calling Donald Trump a “faker” and lamenting the fate of the country and the Court under a Trump presidency. Father Jenkins opened with a laudatory introduction. Then, under comradely questioning by Judge Williams that at one point broke into a musical tribute in song — “Justice Ruth, she speaks the truth!” — Justice Ginsburg related her life story — that of a determined feminist who endured discrimination time after time and finally reached the pinnacle of the legal establishment. There were, to be sure, some footnotes, e.g., her preference for the active Nancy Drew to the passive Jane (of Jim and Jane); her mother-in-law’s wedding gift of earplugs, which she found use for on the Court; why she prefers to be called “Notorious R.G.B.” rather than “Queen Ruth”; and her standard jest about how there will be enough women on the Court when there are nine. The brief, obviously pre-arranged, question period produced nothing substantial. In short, the event was by design a light and unalloyed salute to Justice Ginsburg as a professional woman of high achievement whom Notre Dame women especially should admire. Now consider Justice Ginsburg’s record and then judge whether this did not give scandal.
AbortionJustice Ginsburg, a vigorous pro-abortion advocate, has consistently voted against any attempt to limit abortions, from late-term abortions to state health-related regulations. Her position is simple and radical:
The basic thing is that government has no business making that choice for a women.
I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.
Issues with Notre Dame’s Catholic identity have abounded for decades, but more recently with … Notre Dame’s choice to honor pro-abortion and homosexual “marriage” Vice President Joe Biden ….”
Ginsburg’s actions and statements directly conflict with Catholic religious teachings, but Notre Dame has a reputation for going against its own religious mission.
Same-Sex MarriageJustice Ginsburg’s vote in favor of same-sex marriage was telegraphed by her controversial officiating at such a marriage in advance of the Supreme Court litigation, an action she reportedly took to “send a message.”
Religious LibertyJustice Ginsburg dissented from the Court’s decision upholding the religious liberty right of a store owner to refuse to pay for his employees’ chemically-induced abortions. In her alternative universe, a storeowner who declines to fund his employee’s abortions is “foisting his beliefs” on them. Plainly, she would not entertain Notre Dame’s religious liberty claim in its similar lawsuit should it come before the Court.
ConclusionThis event was designed to, and did, present Justice Ginsburg as a woman to be admired and emulated. Students got the point:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my hero. She is everything I want to be when I grow up.
She’s an inspiring human that makes policy accessible.
For her to accept our invitation here is very impressive.