1. Report: Supreme Court draft suggests Roe could be overturned, By Mark Sherman and Zeke Miller, Associated Press, May 3, 2022 A draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a Politico report. A decision to overrule Roe would lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states and could have huge ramifications for this year’s elections. But it’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter — opinions often change in ways big and small in the drafting process. Whatever the outcome, the Politico report late Monday represents an extremely rare breach of the court’s secretive deliberation process, and on a case of surpassing importance. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” the draft opinion states. It was signed by Justice Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s 6-3 conservative majority who was appointed by former President George W. Bush. https://apnews.com/article/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-07439f9fc4542f1500ab78dfd34036b1___________________________________________________________ 2. Bible tweet trial: Finland’s state prosecutor files appeal, By Catholic News Agency, May 3, 2022, 5:08 AM Finland’s state prosecutor has filed an appeal after a court in Helsinki dismissed “hate speech” charges against a Christian MP. The state prosecutor had seven days to decide whether to appeal following the district court’s dismissal of all charges against Päivi Räsänen, Finland’s interior minister from 2011 to 2015, and Juhana Pohjola, a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland. “After my full exoneration in court, I am dismayed that the prosecutor will not let this campaign against me drop,” said Räsänen, a physician and mother of five. “And yet, the prosecutor’s decision to appeal may lead to the case going all the way to the Supreme Court, offering the possibility of securing a positive precedent for freedom of speech and religion for all Finnish people. Also, I am happy that this decision will lead to the discussion of the Bible’s teachings in society.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/251119/bible-tweet-trial-finland-s-state-prosecutor-files-appeal___________________________________________________________ 3. The Supreme Court Hoists a Christian Flag, The Justices rule 9-0 for religious liberty and against secular Boston., By The Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2022, 6:36 PM, Editorial Say what you will about the current Supreme Court, and many critics are never happy, but the Roberts Court has been sonorous on religious liberty. The Justices provided another bell-ringer Monday in a 9-0 decision.  The majority opinion in the case, Shurtleff v. Boston, speaks for six Justices, three liberal and three conservative. Justice Stephen Breyer writes for the majority that Boston didn’t have a set policy on which flags to permit, and in practice it took all comers. The city employee handling applications said he typically never reviewed the flags. In effect, the pole was a public forum, and Justice Breyer says Boston unconstitutionally “discriminated based on religious viewpoint.” Three Justices agreed with that result but found its reasoning less than airtight.  Even if Boston actively regulated which private flags could rise outside City Hall, it wouldn’t make them Boston’s speech. Whether a “reasonable” person would mistakenly attribute the flag to the city is also beside the point. Justice Gorsuch digs into that last issue in a concurrence joined by Justice Thomas. The “reasonable observer” standard, he says, is rooted in the Court’s 1971 precedent of Lemon v. Kurtzman, which created a nebulous three-part test for disputes about the Constitution’s ban on the establishment of religion. The result, he adds, is that judges started to imagine how a “lazy,” “uninformed” and “irritable” onlooker might react to a flag or Christmas scene. “Just ask him,” Justice Gorsuch writes, “if he feels it ‘endorses’ religion. If so, game over.”  Permanently pulping a rotten Lemon is a worthy goal, and we await the day the Court finds a chance to do it. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-supreme-court-hoists-a-christian-flag-religious-liberty-shurtleff-v-boston-stephen-breyer-neil-gorsuch-11651525494?___________________________________________________________ 4. Supreme Court rules against Boston in Christian flag case, By Mark Sherman, Associated Press, May 2, 2022, 6:10 PM A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that Boston violated the free speech rights of a conservative activist when it refused his request to fly a Christian flag on a flagpole outside City Hall. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court that the city discriminated against the activist, Harold Shurtleff, because of his “religious viewpoint,” even though it had routinely approved applications for the use of one of the three flagpoles outside City Hall that fly the U.S., Massachusetts and Boston flags. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-rules-against-boston-in-christian-flag-case/2022/05/02/95f68ffc-ca33-11ec-b7ee-74f09d827ca6_story.html___________________________________________________________ 5. Federal judge extends ban on new Kentucky abortion law, By Dylan Lovan, Associated Press, May 2, 2022 A federal judge in Kentucky has extended a temporary ban on the enforcement of a new state law that effectively ended abortions because the state’s two clinics said they can’t comply with all its requirements. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings is giving the clinics more time to explain their objections to the law. Jennings extended a temporary restraining order until May 19, after the existing one expires Thursday. Jennings said, however, some parts of the law not in dispute by the two clinics and state officials would go into effect. https://apnews.com/article/abortion-health-kentucky-legislature-louisville-808ab2b47630626d79624957a8e84ebc___________________________________________________________ 6. Supreme Court Awards Resounding Victory for the First Amendment in Shurtleff v. City of Boston, The court unanimously ruled that Boston violated the First Amendment when it banned an organization called Camp Constitution from flying an ecumenical Christian flag., By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, May 2, 2022, Opinion On Monday morning, Justice Stephen Breyer, who will be retiring at the end of the Supreme Court’s current term, issued one of his last opinions for the court. Although he is one of the court’s more liberal members, it was a resounding defense of the right of Christians to fly a flag in front of Boston’s City Hall — something that officials had banned them from doing. In fact, the Court unanimously ruled against the City of Boston. Not a single justice agreed with Boston’s Property Management Department that flying a flag from one of three flagpoles on City Hall Plaza violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. To quote Justice Breyer, “When the government encourages diverse expression — say, by creating a forum for debate — the First Amendment prevents it from discriminating against speakers based on their viewpoint.”   It’s a shame that the Lemon test, as it’s known, remains in place to confuse officials who think that if they fail to censor religious speech they are endorsing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause. But that may change by the end of the Supreme Court’s term, when it will rule on the case of Coach Joseph Kennedy, a public high school football coach who was fired after he refused to refrain from private prayer after games. In the meantime, there is nothing to stop a Christian flag flying, albeit briefly, in front of Boston City Hall and we can celebrate a small but significant victory for free speech and religious freedom in America. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/supreme-court-awards-resounding-victory-for-the-first-amendment-in-shurtleff-v-city-of-boston___________________________________________________________ 7. California Catholic dioceses ask Supreme Court to hear statute of limitations extension case, By Katie Yoder, Catholic News Agency, May 2, 2022, 4:34 PM California Catholic bishops are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a case challenging the state for permitting victims of childhood sexual abuse to file claims again, after the timeframe for them to pursue legal action has expired twice. Nine California Catholic dioceses and archdioceses filed a petition for writ of certiorari, or a petition to review a lower court’s decision, in the case — Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland v. Superior Court of California for Los Angeles — on April 15.  The petition outlines their two main concerns: That recent California legislation allows claimants to come forward after the timeframe to do so has expired twice, and it allows claims that impose new punishment not considered the last time.  The dioceses say that reviving claims and retroactively imposing new damages is unconstitutional under the ex post facto clause, which prohibits the enforcement of laws retroactively, and the due process clause, which they say forbids retroactively creating liability.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/251111/california-catholic-dioceses-ask-supreme-court-to-hear-statute-of-limitations-extension-case___________________________________________________________ 8. Argentine nuns accuse archbishop, others of gender violence, By Almudena Calatrava, Associated Press, May 2, 2022, 8:40 PM Several feminist groups are calling for protests Tuesday in support of a community of cloistered nuns who have caused shockwaves by accusing the archbishop of a northern Argentine province and other church officials of gender-based psychological and physical violence.  A court hearing set for Tuesday was called off Monday when the defense said the archbishop of Salta province, Mario Antonio Cargnello, will be participating in a meeting of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina outside Buenos Aires. A future date for the hearing has not been set.  In a twist in the case, the Vatican had earlier sent an envoy to look into the complaints by the nuns but Bishop Martín de Elizalde has become a defendant in the case himself. He is accused of consenting to the abuse but not actually carrying it out. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/argentine-nuns-accuse-archbishop-others-of-gender-violence/2022/05/02/b037208e-ca79-11ec-b7ee-74f09d827ca6_story.html___________________________________________________________

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.