Bishop Writes Bush on Court Vacancy

Urges Consideration of Jurists Who’d Protect Life

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 7, 2005 ( The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference has written to George Bush about «the qualities that I hope you would contemplate» for a successor to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

O’Connor announced her retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court on July 1.

In his letter to Bush dated that same day, Spokane Bishop William Skylstad, president of the episcopal conference, wrote that «the legacy of a Supreme Court Justice is long and the influence of the Court on the life of the country and the development of the Law is considerable.»

Bishop Skylstad noted that the bishops’ conference does not participate in the confirmation process «by endorsing or opposing specific nominees. Our concern is for principles and policies rather than for personalities.»

He said that «we will maintain that position with regard to this Supreme Court appointment and to those that will come in the future.»

However, noting «the Supreme Court’s ability to affect both principles and policies,» Bishop Skylstad asked President Bush to consider «qualified jurists who, pre-eminently, support the protection of human life from conception to natural death, especially of those who are unborn, disabled, or terminally ill.»

The prelate asked Bush «to consider jurists who are also cognizant of the rights of minorities, immigrants, and those in need; respect the role of religion and of religious institutions in our society and the protections afforded them by the First Amendment; recognize the value of parental choice in education; and favor restraining and ending the use of the death penalty.»

Bishop Skylstad concluded, «Our prayers are with you as you make this decision which is so crucial for our nation.»

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