The nation may be debating the abortion views of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, but another Trump court nominee – one already sitting on the bench – made his views clear on the issue this week.
James Ho was nominated and confirmed last year to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after serving as Texas solicitor general and as an attorney with the First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty organization.
In an opinion released on Sunday, he sided with the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops in an opinion and also called abortion a “moral tragedy” – language that has sparked outrage from the pro-choice community.
The case concerns a Texas law that would require abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal remains and would forbid them from placing the remains in sewers or landfills. The Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops offered to bury the remains for free. A lower court judge ordered the Bishops to “discovery requests” in the case – an intrusive order for a religious organization that isn’t a party in the case -- but the Bishops appealed.
In a 2-1 Fifth Circuit decision released Sunday, Ho joined Judge Edith Jones in blocking the lower court’s order.
“The First Amendment expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion -- including the right of the Bishops to express their profound objection to the moral tragedy of abortion, by offering free burial services for fetal remains,” Ho wrote. “By contrast, nothing in the text or original understanding of the Constitution prevents a state from requiring the proper burial of fetal remains.”
Ho further wondered if the lower court’s order was meant to “retaliate against people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of life -- but also for wanting to do something about it.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.