Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Constitution lives - with its interpreters

An American flag waves within the razor wire-lined compound of Camp Delta prison, at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base. (Photo by Brennan Linsley, Reuters)


Well! The Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 (which always seems to be the number these days) on the Guantanamo case. News story here from the Associated Press and here from the BBC.

Adventus has already weighed in.

The SCOTUS Blog is closed to comments, but has all kinds of interesting follow-up to the decision already. Go there to get info closest to the source.

No doubt the beloved BB will weigh in sometime in the next few days. Constitution bloggers, rejoice.

The ACLU is here. (You knew I was going to get that one in, right?)

As a former Roman Catholic and an ongoing student and teacher of Catholic social thought, it grieves me that the four dissenting justices are all RCs. If Catholic social teaching has one* underlying principle, it is the dignity of the human person. Habeas corpus, anyone?

* I was being rhetorical, it's really two: as Charlie Curran's book notes, Catholic social teaching is grounded in a view that embraces both the inherent dignity and the social nature of the human person.

P.S. I think there are a lot of parallels between Constitutional Law and biblical interpretation, but that is another conversation.

4 comments:

FranIAm said...

Jane - outstanding, brilliant post here. Wow.

I was so glad to hear of this decision... and then the petulant whines of Roberts and Scalia had to drift in.

Deep sigh.

Roberts, Scalia, etc - they probably all worship at the uber-conservative St. Catherine of Siena in Great Falls or wherever it is. Nice church if you are Opus Dei.

Robert Hanson was a communicant. An old (lost touch now)friend who was in formation with the Dominicans many, many years ago did his deaconship there.

Charlie Curran God love him. Pat (my pastor) went to seminary in DC in the early 80's and had him as a teacher, said he was something else.

You know though that the whole inherent dignity thing is lost on some people. Which is of course why Guantanamo exists in the first place.

Jane R said...

Hmm, I think St. John in McLean, VA is sort of like that too...

Ah, your pastor studied with Charlie Curran. Well, that explains a lot. Good for him. He probably also isn't too young. The younger RC priests tend to be more rigid these days. Not all, but many or most, from what I gather.

As for the post, I don't know what could be construed as brilliant about it, I was just passing on information with a small comment or two, but thank you!

Paul said...

Very important information with lots of good links, Jane. Yes, I tossed a pastiche together on the news - and on a Thursday, my Constitution day, no less.

Biblical theology and Con Law have a lot to do with each other, though not in the way the creepy dominionists think.

Ken said...

When I was trying to be Catholic I used to stop off at a church in Manhattan, Holy Innocents on West 37th Street in the Garment District. The church looked like it had been built and decorated during the reign of Charles VI of France (a.k.a., The Mad). A huge larger-than-life crucifix with a corpus so realistic it made me queasy. Dark alcoves. And a deeply conservative staff of priests, including an obnoxious Jesuit who must have been around Fr. Fessio too often. I heard him at one 5:15 Mass address the mostly female worshippers by saying "We don't read Tarot cards because we are Catholic. We don't get involved in santero because we are Catholic." And so forth. Of course the women were garment works, Latinas all, who probably were into card-reading and santeria yet also were deeply Catholic. The priest didn't get it. Neither did the gentleman who came into to hear confessions on Friday. He was and probably still is a member of Opus Dei. He was the first priest I met in the Church, at the Riverside Study Center in Upper Manhattan, and he recommended to me the cilice and cold showers (I was a lust-bunny:). As nuts as I was back then, this guy was just a bit over the top for me. Somehow I survived. OH! And Fr. Benedict Groeschel used to speak there regularly. Actually I rather liked him in spite of his somewhat retro views.