Over the past few months, the Catholic League, along with many others, has made the charge that Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have subjected Catholic nominees to the federal bench to a de facto religious test. Not all Catholics—just those who accept the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion. Those Democrats include Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator Charles Schumer.
On July 25, Catholic League president William Donohue issued a news release saying, “To charge a sitting Senator as being anti-Catholic is serious business. I make no such charge. But this does not empty the issue.” He then contended that the effect of what these Democrats were doing was to vet certain Catholics for their religious convictions.
On July 30, Senator Durbin defended the record of these Democrats by saying that “three Catholics active in pro-life and Catholic causes” have been confirmed for the federal bench. Now an aide to Senator Schumer, Phil Singer, is arguing that Schumer has voted for “dozens of both Catholic and pro-life nominees such as New Yorkers Richard Wesley and Reena Raggi.”
Catholic League president William Donohue set the record straight today:
“Senators Durbin and Schumer will have to do better than this. Of the three nominees mentioned by Durbin—Joy Flowers Conti, Michael Melloy and Jay Zainey—only the latter has been identified as being pro-life; his resume simply notes affiliation with Lawyers for Life. Senator Schumer’s defense is even weaker: there is no record, either from her resume or from a database search, of Reena Raggi ever being affiliated with pro-life causes. And Richard Wesley is not even Catholic—he’s a Methodist.
“Ironically, the nominees offered as proof of fairness do not resolve the problem—they underscore it. Thus does the tag of bias continue.”