Posted by: Mark Nielsen | May 14, 2010

Supreme Court Nominee Kagan on Peace, Abortion, Religion

Gray say "No" to Elena Kagan!

 Greetings to Mark’s friends and acquaintances, especially of the political activist or religious stripe.  

I read the information below today, about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Kagan and other matters of ethical importance. Because I believe in an informed community above all else, I pass it along to you, to do with what you will.
I’m not telling you what to think. Just passing along what seems to be accurate/relevant background to those who want to call/write your senators, either pro-Kagan or anti-  . Those who know me well know I’m traditionally “liberal” on certain issues, “conservative” on others/ Catholic on some, Evangelical on others, non-religious on a few. It’s all got to do with how I understand God or read scripture (and to a lesser extent, on U.S. Constitution and history). You may not agree, but I still feel it’s important for people to speak up as a matter of conscience. I’m the one taking the risk of offending someone, so I’ll take credit/blame from those of you who also have strong opinions, if you should choose to write me back.  See my ABOUT page here for my preferred email address, or you can comment  below, in a place where all can see what you have said… I do not delete or edit Marking Time blog comments except in cases of extreme lewdness, profanity, and occasionally bigotry). 

A basic definition of “consistent life” (according to Wikipedia) is as follows:
“The Consistent Life Ethic, or Consistent Ethic of Life, was a term coined in 1983 by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin to express his ethical, religious, and political ideology. It was based on the premise that all human life (as Bernardin defined it) was sacred and should be protected by law.[1] The ideology opposes legal abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide, economic injustice, and euthanasia. Adherents are opposed, at the very least, to unjust war, while some adherents also profess pacifism, or opposition to all war.”
So to reiterate… I’m just passing along the official (or possibly hidden) past judicial stances of Kagan, plus some info on an advocacy group that may interest you. [ The home page for is here. ]  For some, you might think of this as “opposition research”. I don’t much care. I’m about living and speaking “in the light”, and loving my enemies enough to talk turkey and be civil with them.
Obviously, the newsletter source forwarded below is biased, as it is from a group supporting the “consistent life” ethic. It is a stance I do fully support (in principle, if not always in their actions or suggested public policy), so I believe in improving education of the public about this idea. (thus this email to you)
In addition to the late Cardinal Bernardin, the consistent ethic of life is a stance held by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean, and many other big religious and political figures on both sides of various aisles. To see thousands of both individual and organizational supporters of the consistent life ethic, the supporter page for is here. There would be alot more, including many in the military, but for the heated debate about the definition of what is an “unjust war”.
For Illinois voters: see below for b’ground on Mr. Sheurer, the anti-abortion, anti-capital-punishment U.S. House of Rep’s Independent candidate in the 8th District. And anyone can use the CL litmus test in considering your U.S. Senate or House or gubernatorial votes (hopefully not to be a single-issue voter, but to help you decide). [Note: remember, Burris is not running for Senate, but IS voting on Kagan]
I’m disappointed, though not surprised, that Kagan was Pres. Obama’s pick. She was seen as the “middle” choice, i.e. the one who is easiest to get thru a divided, somewhat hapless Senate. Obama may be a pragmatist, but I think sometimes he’s gutless. (You win some, you lose some.) He’s certainly not the “radical” that some characterize him as…
But… as I said, you’re free to think as you like, about him, and about her. Her own positions, as detailed below, are pretty clear. Me, I’m writing to Sens. Durbin and Burris as soon as I’ve sent this, to advocate a NO vote on Kagan.
Whatever you do, don’t think this doesn’t concern you. These are human issues, moreso than religious or political ones. Beginning of life/role of government/crime and punishment/end of life… can you think of anyone besides your dog who won’t be impacted at some point by Supreme Court decisions on such matters?
In fear and trembling,
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2010 11:04 AM
Subject: Peace & Life Connections 05.14.10


 Peace & Life Connections
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In the News – U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan on the CL issues

CL 9 Kagan 3 2At her hearing for Solicitor General in 2009, Kagan said: “I am fully prepared to argue, consistent with Supreme Court precedents, that the death penalty is constitutional.”

She also agreed at that hearing when Senator Lindsey Graham asked her “Now, when you talk about the physical battlefield, if our intelligence agency should capture someone in the Philippines that is suspected of financing al-Qaida worldwide, would you consider that person part of the battlefield, even though we’re in the Philippines, if they were involved in al-Qaida activity?” By agreeing, she is endorsing the view that the whole world is defined as a battlefield and people contributing money can be accounted as enemy combatants – a status that means they can be imprisoned indefinitely without trial.

On abortion, she argued that the regulations on Title X family planning funds against counseling or referring for abortion amounted to subsidizing anti-abortion speech. She seemed to be disparaging the avengers of “innocent life” in quotation marks in a 1980 essay. In the Clinton administration, she wrote a memo in favor of the Daschle approach to a partial-birth abortion ban; that legislative maneuvering kept the procedure legal for another six years.

Less information is available on assisted suicide and euthanasia, which have not come up much in courts but certainly have potential to.

Another Consistent Life Candidate for U.S. Congress

Bill Scheurer is a nationally recognized peace activist and long-time enthusiastic supporter of Consistent Life, occasionally coming up with creative ideas for us. He has run for Congress as a peace candidate in the past and is running again this year as an independent candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th District of Illinois.

Letter to the Editor 

Marilyn Kopp submitted the following letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. We remind subscribers that we encourage you to send in short letters or blog postings (or links to longer blog postings) to share.

In her Friday letter “Should they ever have been born?” Gloria Shewitz callously suggests that it would be better to abort children rather than bring them into abusive home situations. Deciding that someone’s life has no value because she might be abused is not a workable standard. Do we really want to tell abused children that they are better off dead? When I see a battered child, I want to comfort her, not kill her. Healing is always possible.

In the News

Ellen and Frank McNeirney from our member group Catholics Against Capital Punishment alert us to an article on a Utah Bishop connecting opposition to the death penalty to the “seamless garment,” another name for the consistent life ethic, at an April 23 rally.

Quotation of the Week

on the occasion of the latest Supreme Court nomination

James Wilson, United States Supreme Court Justice, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

“Lectures on Law,” 1791

James Wilson“With consistency, beautiful and undeviating, human life from its commencement to its close, is protected by common law. . . . By law it is protected not only from immediate destruction, but from every degree of actual violence.”

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Issue #9
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