As The Catholic Post went to press Tuesday, the second day of Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch — President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee — had just concluded. The remarks and questioning showed not only how important this and future nominations are to the nation, but also to the Catholic Church. Among the issues discussed were religious liberty and abortion.
Because Supreme Court justices serve as long as their health permits, and Gorsuch is only 49, the “stakes could not be higher” for the job, said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.
According to Catholic News Service reports, Gorsuch wouldn’t give his personal views on Roe vs. Wade or any other Supreme Court decision during the hearing and only said the court’s decision in the landmark abortion ruling set a precedent that has been reaffirmed by the court. He said President Trump did not ask him to “overrule Roe vs. Wade,” and that if the president had asked him “I would have walked out the door. It’s not what judges do.”
Asked by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, about his ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby when he was in the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch called the case a “tough one” but said the court followed the guidelines of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress. He said the act didn’t define terms of a person and could be interpreted that corporations have similar religious liberty rights.
A vote on the judge’s confirmation is set to take place April 3. While understanding these hyper-partisan times and lingering resentment over Senate Republicans refusing to hold a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland — President Obama’s nominee — we hope minds remain open. We pray for wisdom for the committee members and, if approved, especially for Judge Gorsuch. — Thomas J. Dermody