Judge Bork Predicts: A “Terrible Conflict” Will Endanger U.S. Catholics’ Religious Freedom

Former Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork has predicted that upcoming legal battles will have significant ramifications for religious freedom. He names as issues of major concern the continued freedom of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions and the likely “terrible conflict” resulting from the advancement of homosexual rights.

Speaking in an interview published Tuesday by Cybercast News Service, Judge Bork discussed the contentious nature of modern politics.

“Everything is up for debate these days. I can’t think of anything that isn’t,” he said.
“You are going to get Catholic hospitals that are going to be required as a matter of law to perform abortions,” he claimed.

“We are going to see in the near future a terrible conflict between claimed rights of homosexuals and religious freedom… You are going to get Catholic or other groups’ relief services that are going to be required to allow adoption of a child by homosexual couples.  We are going to have a real conflict that goes right to the heart of the society.”

Asked whether there was a freedom of conscience clause anywhere in the Constitution that might prohibit the U.S. government from compelling a religious hospital to perform abortions, he replied: “Well, the free exercise of religion clause might fulfill that role.”

He agreed with the CNS interviewer, Editor in Chief Terry Jeffrey, that such coercion forces someone to act against their religion and could be construed as a violation of the right to free exercise of religion.

However, Judge Bork was unsure about whether the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold such a right. He predicted the decision would rest with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in some cases sides with liberals and at other times with “originalists,” those who profess to hold a more tradition-minded interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

“It depends upon Anthony Kennedy,” Judge Bork told CNS. “Now, it’s a funny situation in which the moral life of a nation is in effect decided by one judge, because you have four solid liberal votes, four solid originalist votes, and one vote you can’t predict too accurately in advance.”

Though Justice Kennedy is a Catholic, he sided with the majority who upheld the pro-abortion rights Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. . . . (read article)

(Courtesy of New Advent)


  1. Javier Plumey

    Patrick, do you think that these challenges will come as a result of the Freedom of Choice Act? Or do you think that abortion rights advocates will use another, more sneaky approach? I personally have little confidence that FOCA will will be signed; it just has too little support at the Congressional level right now.

  2. Brian P. Craig

    Of course, now that Barack Obama is President, we have to pray that those four “originalist” justices hang on for the next four to eight years. Even with that, I would say Kennedy is even less reliable than Bork makes him out to be. Kennedy wrote the opinion in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned the sodomy laws and essentially forecloses any restrictions on adoption by gays.I fear that without free exercise cover from the Supremes, we will begin to see Catholic dioceses remove themselves from activities like health care and adoption services rather than comply with requirements that force them to compromise teachings. Let’s keep an eye out not just for FOCA, but for executive orders coming from Obama’s White House.

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