1. Justices Give Few Hints In Abortion Law Case.

By Adam Liptak, The New York Times, March 5, 2020, Pg. A18

The members of the court who may hold the key votes — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Kavanaugh — focused their questions on whether they were bound by a 2016 decision by the court that struck down an identical Texas law. They suggested that at least half of the cost-benefit analysis was identical in the two states, and they wondered whether that was sufficient to decide the case.

The court’s four liberal members seemed convinced that the Louisiana law, like the one from Texas, imposed the sort of “undue burden” on the right to abortion prohibited by the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The law did nothing to protect women’s health, they said, but it did create a substantial obstacle to the ability of women to obtain abortions.

Only Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. asked questions consistently supportive of the Louisiana law. Justices Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas asked no questions.


2. Schumer Threatens the Court: The leading Senate Democrat draws a rebuke from Roberts.

By The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2020, Pg. A16, Editorial

Mr. Schumer was speaking before abortion-rights activists as the Supreme Court considers whether to curtail the ability of abortion providers to sue on behalf of women seeking abortions—a doctrine known as third-party standing. Mr. Schumer, still addressing Messrs. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, added: “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

The remarks drew a rare and pointed public rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, who said: “Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”


3. Pope names Savannah bishop Hartmayer archbishop of Atlanta.

By Associated Press, March 5, 2020, 6:58 AM

Pope Francis has named Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer as the new leader of the Catholic Church in Atlanta.

Hartmayer, 68, replaces Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who took over as head of the church in Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of the 2018 explosion of the sex abuse and cover-up scandal.


4. US worshippers grapple with virus burdens others have borne.

By David Crary, Associated Press, March 5, 2020, 6:01 AM

A rising number of churches across the United States are making changes in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including a decision by numerous Catholic dioceses to suspend the serving of wine during Communion.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has shared with its member bishops some suggested steps that could be taken in response to the outbreak, but it has left it up to individual bishops to decide if and how to implement those steps. Some dioceses said they would leave some decisions to the discretion of their parish priests.


5. With Louisiana Abortion Case, the Supreme Court Can Re-Establish the Rule of Law: Women shouldn’t entrust the defense of their health and safety interests as patients at abortion businesses to the very interests that have flouted existing health and safety regulations.

By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, March 4, 2020, Opinion

The Supreme Court has been the accomplice of the nation’s abortion advocates for almost half a century. In 2020, however, the high court has the opportunity to end this unholy alliance.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case — June Medical Services v. Russo — that will allow the court to right many of the wrongs of its abortion jurisprudence.

The June case involves a challenge by abortionists and abortion businesses to a Louisiana “hospital admitting privileges” law. The Louisiana legislators supporting the law responded to a long string of abortion industry abuses that put the lives of Louisiana women at risk. Failing to stock emergency materials, little oversight of controlled substances, and gross medical negligence were commonplace. The failure to screen physicians for competency was the norm. At June Medical Service’s Shreveport facility, for example, an ophthalmologist and a radiologist performed abortions.

Even before considering the merits of the Louisiana law, the Supreme Court should address the important jurisprudential matter of whether this case should even be in federal court — the so-called standing issue. You see, a person generally can go to court only to assert his or her own legal rights and interests. A narrow exception to this “standing” rule exists only when a third party has a close relationship to the right-holder or is unable to sue and can trust the third party to pursue his or her interests. Here, Louisiana’s abortionists and abortion centers — the very interests whose practices placed the state’s women in danger — sued to block the admitting privileges law. Not one woman joined their complaint.

Women shouldn’t entrust the defense of their health and safety interests as patients at abortion businesses to the very interests that have flouted existing health and safety regulations.

Should the Court decide not to rectify its standing rules in abortion cases and throw out the abortionists’ challenge, it can, of course, review the case on its merits or substance.

Rather than continue to allow the abortion industry to craft rules that leave it virtually unsupervised, the Supreme Court in June can reestablish the rule of law — a rule that should protect women’s health and safety.

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is legal adviser for The Catholic Association Foundation.


6. German Catholics, California both live up to their billing in Super Tuesday votes.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, March 5, 2020

There’s a sense in which Germany has become to Church politics what California is on the American scene, meaning a strongly blue state which tends to favor the most progressive choice on any menu.

In somewhat similar fashion, Germany’s Catholic bishops went to the polls the day before, and they, too, embraced a progressive as their new leader. To replace Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, who’s served as president of the German bishops’ conference since 2014, they chose Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg.

Bätzing, 58, reflects the broadly reform-minded, progressive ethos of the German church.

In a similar key, one could argue that while the contest for the direction of Catholicism may be largely over in Germany, that’s hardly true in much of the rest of the world, and therefore parties interested in steering things one way or the other probably wouldn’t be focusing much on Germany right now.

By running up the score at home, in other words, Catholic liberals in Germany may also be reducing their leverage in the global game – unless, that is, their new leader finds a different way to project influence.


TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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