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The Judicial Oath and the American Creed: Comments on Sanford Levinson's The Confrontation of Religious Faith and Civil Religion: Catholics Becoming Justices

25 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2013  

Howard J. Vogel

Hamline University - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 1990

Abstract

This article summarizes Professor Levinson’s discussion of the Catholic Justices’ senate judiciary committee confirmation experiences in his article “The Confrontation of Religious Faith and Civil Religion: Catholics Becoming Justices.” The author argues that a potential for “creedal” conflicts arises under article VI of the Constitution, and explores the dimensions of the “creedal” conflict experienced by the Catholic nominees. The article then goes beyond the Catholic context to examine the dimensions of such conflicts as they might arise for a judicial nominee with Quaker religious commitments and one with secular moral commitments. The article then turns to consider whether the requirements that one subordinate one’s religious and moral commitments to one’s commitment to the Constitution in the performance of the judicial role is an occasion for hope or caution. The article closes with some brief comments on whether, given the “religious” nature of moral commitments which cannot be grounded solely in reason, we can talk about these issues.

Keywords: Justices and religion, Catholic, Quaker, creedal conflicts, judicial oaths

JEL Classification: K00, K4, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Vogel, Howard J., The Judicial Oath and the American Creed: Comments on Sanford Levinson's The Confrontation of Religious Faith and Civil Religion: Catholics Becoming Justices (January 1, 1990). DePaul Law Review, Vol. 39, p. 1107, 1990. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1929580

Howard J. Vogel (Contact Author)

Hamline University - School of Law ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States

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