Catholic University to Honor Justice Breyer Who Wrote Majority Opinion Supporting Partial-Birth Abor

NEW YORK, September 15, 2008 ( - In a brash move defying the U.S Bishops’ speakers policy, Fordham University’s Stein Center for Law and Ethics announced that pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer is the 2008 recipient of the Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize. Breyer infamously wrote the majority opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart, which struck down state laws banning the practice of partial-birth abortion.
  The Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize is scheduled to be bestowed upon Justice Breyer at a dinner in New York on October 29, 2008.
Three weeks ago The Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly wrote to inform Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J., President of Fordham University, of Justice Breyer’s record. Reilly urged him to rescind the offer of the Fordham-Stein Ethics Prize to Breyer. No response was given.
"This amounts to nothing less than Fordham University thumbing its nose at the US Bishops, whose opposition to such honors is clear," said Reilly.
  Earlier this year The Cardinal Newman Society led a coalition of prominent Catholic organizations and released a statement in support of the US Bishops’ speakers policy. In the 2004 statement, "Catholics in Political Life," the Bishops stated: "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
  In the 2000 decision Stenberg v. Carhart, Supreme Court Justice Breyer wrote in the majority opinion: "This Court, in the course of a generation, has determined and then redetermined that the Constitution offers basic protection to the woman’s right to choose."

In contrast, New York Archbishop, Edward Cardinal Egan recently lambasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for defending the so-called "right to choose." Egan said: "Anyone who dares to defend that they [children in the womb] may be legitimately killed because another human being ‘chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name."
  Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion in Stenberg, wrote: "I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court’s jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child . . . proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion."

"The choice by Fordham University of Justice Breyer to receive this prestigious award," said Patrick Reilly, "is a far cry from an award established to recognize the ‘positive contributions of the legal profession to American society.’ Justice Breyer did not act objectively in Stenberg, but rather overstepped his authority and legislated from the bench."

"If Fordham truly aspires to follow its own mission statement and be ‘Guided by its Catholic and Jesuit traditions,’ then it must rescind the offer of this award to Justice Breyer," said Reilly.


Edward Cardinal Egan of New York
  1011 First Ave
  New York,
  NY  10022
  Phone: 212-371-1000


Fordham University
  Stephen Freedman, Ph.D.
  Senior Vice President/Chief Academic Officer
[email protected]
  718.817.3040 (p)
  718.817.3050 (f)

Share this article