The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing this morning on President Obama’s nomination of Georgetown University law professor Cornelia “Nina” Pillard for a seat on the 11-member United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for Wednesday morning.
Pillard has written and said many things wildly at odds with Church teaching which call into question her fitness as a professor on a Catholic college campus.
In one 2007 article that appeared in the Georgetown Law Faculty Publication entitled, “Our Other Reproductive Choices: Equality in Sex Education, Contraceptive Access, and Work-Family Policy” Pillard had some shocking things to say about pro-lifers, positive things about abortion rights, and some scary things to say about religious freedom.
Pillard wrote that the right to abortion is necessary to help to “free women from historically routine conscription into maternity.”
She continued later in that same vein, saying, “Antiabortion laws and other restraints on reproductive freedom not only enforce women's incubation of unwanted pregnancies, but also prescribe a ‘vision of the woman's role’ as mother and caretaker of children in a way that is at odds with equal protection.”
Concerning the HHS mandate, Pillard calls those opposing it to be guilty of “discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders.”
Pillard argued that abstinence-only sex education may well be unconstitutional in public schools because it is “permeated with stereotyped messages and sex-based double standards” and therefore “violates the constitutional bar against sex stereotyping and is vulnerable to equal protection challenge.”
Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, at Bench Memos points out Pillard’s opinion on the case of Hosanna-Tabor. This may be one of the most important religious freedom cases in our country’s history, because of the decision by the Supreme Court that religious schools have the decision making power to hire and fire without interference from the government.
In a September 2011 press briefing for Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute, Pillard discussed the then-pending (and soon-to-be-argued) case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC. Among other things, Pillard (according to her prepared text) said that the case “strikes [her] as a strong case for the employee” and that “the big news will be if the Court decides it for the Church.” She labeled the Lutheran Church’s position “a substantial threat to the American rule of law.”
As it turned out, of course, on the fundamental question of religious liberty at stake in that case, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the church entity. So that’s further confirmation that Pillard is well to the left of all nine justices.
Despite all this,Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor issued a press release that appears on Georgetown’s website, extolling Pillard’s “great judgment and experience, her deep knowledge of the law, and her commitment to the rule of law and to justice.”
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