Ben Johnson


Pro-life leaders: 'We mourn the lost hope which Judge Bork represented'

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell gave an impassioned defense of Robert Bork at the 1987 hearings. He was confronted by then-Senator Joe Biden.

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2012, ( -  Upon learning that onetime Supreme Court nominee and legal scholar Robert Bork passed away today, the pro-life movement mourned the loss of his towering intellect – and pondered the unborn lives that might have been saved had he been confirmed 25 years ago.

Bork, 85, died Wednesday at Arlington’s Virginia Hospital Center of heart disease.

The Senate voted against Bork’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. The vacant seat was ultimately filled by Anthony Kennedy, now considered the court’s “swing vote.”

Kennedy became the pivotal vote in the plurality opinion partially upholding Roe v. Wade, 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling. 

Judge Bork expressed his opinion on two contentious issues – abortion and anti-sodomy laws – in 2003. Like many originalists he believed the federal government did not have a role in the issues which should be dealt with on a state to state basis. This opinion would have countered the 5-4 majority decision of Roe v. Wade.  “The Constitution has nothing in it that would prevent a state from allowing homosexual sodomy, from allowing abortion, or from disallowing homosexual sodomy and disallowing abortion. Those are topics simply not addressed by the Constitution,” he said. 

“The Constitution assumes that most of our laws will be made by the moral choice of the American people acting through their legislatures,” he said.

The pro-life movement has long believed Justice Bork could have led the court in overturning Roe v. Wade.

“We are not only saddened by the passing of Judge Bork as an amazing human being, but we mourn the lost hope which Judge Bork represented,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told “The past 40 years has seen too many lost children and far too many lost opportunities, like Judge Bork’s defeat, to stop the killing.”

“America has become an impoverished nation in so very many ways because of Judge Bork’s rejection from the Supreme Court,” Gerard Nadal, the Academic Dean of Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT, told LifeSiteNews. “With more than 56 million citizens aborted, marriage redefined, and liberal educational policies and standards that have placed America dead last among the industrialized nations of the world,” Nadal said the state of American culture will stand as “Judge Bork’s great vindication.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins recalls that Bork was “a strong voice for the role of judges as constitutional interpreters rather than legislators. If other judges reflected his understanding of the modest, limited role of judging, I have no doubt that the American people would be freer.”

The future federal judge was born in Pittsburgh on March 1, 1927. After taking a break in his studies to serve in the Korean War, Bork graduated the University of Chicago Law School in 1953.

Bork taught at Yale Law School, where he became the nation’s foremost advocate of an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Sometimes called strict constructionism, Bork’s views denied that the Constitution was open to ever-changing meanings discerned by the current Supreme Court justices, the view that gave rise to Roe v. Wade. At Yale Law, he taught a variety of future decision makers from across the political spectrum, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill, and John Bolton.

President Nixon appointed Bork Solicitor General of the United States in 1973, a post he held under President Ford until 1977. After a brief return to Yale, President Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982.

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell retired, Ronald Reagan nominated Bork for his seat on September 18, 1987.

The confirmation hearing marked a turning point in American political culture. While the Senate had rejected nominees Clement Haynsworth Jr. in 1969 and Harrold Carswell in 1970, neither man endured the vitriolic personal attacks unleashed against Robert Bork.

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is, and is often the only, protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy,” Ted Kennedy bellowed from the well of the Senate.

“Judge Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court exposed the ugly depths liberals will sink to advance their assault on our Constitution,” Paul E. Rondeau, executive director of the American Life League, told The bruising hearings “will stand as an eternal reminder of the great personal sacrifice made by one man in defense of his country and culture.”

Bork, who relished intellectual combat, gave as good as he received. On October 23, his nomination went down to defeat by a vote of 52-43, with Republican Senators such as Bob Packwood and Arlen Specter voting nay, while two Democrats voted to confirm.

So heated was the treatment the judge received that character assassination received a new name: “Borking.” The tactics would be revived against future justice Clarence Thomas.

After Bork’s defeat, Reagan nominated Harvard professor Douglas Ginsburg, who withdrew his nomination after admitting he had smoked marijuana. Justice Anthony Kennedy ultimately filled the vacancy. 

Bork resigned his judgeship in 1988 over his treatment. He turned his intellectual might into a force for the Founder’s views of the Constitution through books, including Slouching Toward Gomorrah, and as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Ave Maria Law School.

“Rarely does one meet a towering intellect – someone who presents the hardest issues in a way which reveals their true substance. Judge Bork was such a man,” Americans United for Life President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest said. “In my acquaintance with him, I found him to be generous with both his time and wisdom, truly sharing his gift with the world.”

“Judge Bork’s scholarly philosophy of originalism gave influence and renewed life to the constitutional intent of our forefathers,” Rondeau told LifeSiteNews.

Although his hearings pivoted around divisive social issues such as abortion, Bork made a significant contribution to antitrust law. Michael H. Schill, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said Bork’s “legacy to the world of law and economics, and to antitrust law, cannot be overstated.” 

Former Reagan administration Attorney General Edwin Meese called Bork “one of our nation’s greatest legal minds,” who “leaves a lasting legacy of scholarly excellence and integrity.”

Outgoing Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner regards the judge as “a titan in the legal field.”

Although he appreciated a fixed precedent, Bork changed his mind on one vital point: He converted to Catholicism in 2003.

“His brilliant legal mind also saw the truth of Christianity, and in his later years Judge Bork grew closer in his relationship with Jesus,” Tony Perkins said. “His deep faith and trust in God is an example for all of us.”

Judge Robert Bork is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen – whom Perkins notes is “a fellow champion of the sanctity for human life” – as well as three children from his first marriage, Ellen, Robert, and Charles; and two grandchildren.

All original quotations for this article were gathered by John-Henry Westen.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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