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USCCB Head Writes President Bush On Supreme Court Vacancy

7/10/2005 - 5:00 AM PST

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Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has written to President Bush about “the qualities that I hope you would contemplate” as Mr. Bush considers the appointment of a successor to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who announced her retirement from the Supreme Court on July 1.

In his letter, dated July 1, Bishop Skylstad wrote that “the legacy of a Supreme Court Justice is long and the influence of the Court on the life of the country and the development of the Law is considerable.”

Bishop Skylstad noted that the USCCB does not participate in the confirmation process “by endorsing or opposing specific nominees. Our concern is for principles and policies rather than for personalities.” He said that “we will maintain that position with regard to this Supreme Court appointment and to those that will come in the future.”

However, noting “the Supreme Court’s ability to affect both principles and policies,” Bishop Skylstad asked Mr. Bush to consider “qualified jurists who, pre-eminently, support the protection of human life from conception to natural death, especially of those who are unborn, disabled, or terminally ill.”

Bishop Skylstad asked Mr. Bush “to consider jurists who are also cognizant of the rights of minorities, immigrants, and those in need; respect the role of religion and of religious institutions in our society and the protections afforded them by the First Amendment; recognize the value of parental choice in education; and favor restraining and ending the use of the death penalty.”

Bishop Skylstad concluded, “Our prayers are with you as you make this decision which is so crucial for our nation.”

The full text of the letter appears below.

Dear Mr. President,

As the nation ponders the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the occasion of her retirement from the bench, we are reminded that the legacy of a Supreme Court Justice is long and the influence of the Court on the life of the country and the development of the Law is considerable. At this time, I want to take the opportunity to draw to your attention the qualities that I hope you would contemplate as you decide on the appointment of her successor.

When a nomination is made, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops does not participate by endorsing or opposing specific nominees. Our concern is for principles and policies rather than for personalities. We will maintain that position with regard to this Supreme Court appointment and to those that will come in the future.

However, because of the Supreme Court’s ability to affect both principles and policies, I urge you to consider for the Court qualified jurists who, pre-eminently, support the protection of human life from conception to natural death, especially of those who are unborn, disabled, or terminally ill. I would ask you to consider jurists who are also cognizant of the rights of minorities, immigrants, and those in need; respect the role of religion and of religious institutions in our society and the protections afforded them by the First Amendment; recognize the value of parental choice in education; and favor restraining and ending the use of the death penalty. There are many specific applications of these and other fundamental matters which the USCCB has addressed or will address in the future through amicus briefs.

Our prayers are with you as you make this decision which is so crucial for our nation.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend William S. Skylstad
Bishop of Spokane
President

Contact

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
http://www.usccb.org  DC, US
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Office of Media Relations, 202 541-3000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

USCCB, Bishops, Court, Bush, President, Supreme

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