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Natural Law

NEWS
September 17, 1991 | By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
"The higher-law background of the American Constitution . . . provides the only firm basis for a just, wise and constitutional decision. " - Clarence Thomas, 1988 "At no point did I or do I believe that the approach of natural law or that natural rights has a role in constitutional adjudication. " - Clarence Thomas, 1991 For several years in many forums, Clarence Thomas stressed the importance of natural law - meaning a higher moral law beyond man-made law - in American law and ethics.
NEWS
September 15, 1991
OF 'NATURAL LAW' AND THE THOMAS HEARINGS Clarification is needed for Aaron Epstein's Sept. 1 article "Thomas puts focus on natural law. " An otherwise difficult subject was made totally unclear. When terms like natural law are used, the writer has a responsibility to define his use of the term. Natural law can mean different things to different people. I will touch on two contrasting meanings as pointed out by Dean Herbert W. Titus of Regent University. Mr. Epstein used both concepts interchangeably.
NEWS
September 14, 1991 | By ELLEN GOODMAN
It is the sixth confirmation hearing in five years and so the Senate scene is familiar by now. An entire cast of characters struggling to be camera- friendly but serious. Well-rehearsed lawyers on both sides of the room creating sound-bites meant to be intelligent and intelligible. But when the Senate Judiciary Committee welcomed Clarence Thomas onto its turf, something had changed. The atmosphere in the country is different. Or perhaps diffident. The leaders of advocacy groups still offer up their endorsements and criticisms.
NEWS
September 13, 1991 | By Aaron Epstein, Inquirer Washington Bureau
Clarence Thomas, weathering Democratic charges of dodging the abortion issue and abandoning his past positions on natural law, edged closer yesterday to Senate Judiciary Committee approval of his nomination to the Supreme Court. Democrats said they thought no more than five members of the 14-man committee would vote against Thomas because he has made no serious misstep, according to Democratic sources close to the committee Testifying for a third day, Thomas, 43, took unexpectedly moderate positions by supporting the right of unmarried people to use contraceptives, endorsing strong separation of church and state, and backing public housing.
NEWS
September 13, 1991 | BY CAL THOMAS
What if the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who sit in judgment of Clarence Thomas could be questioned on their views of the origin of laws and rights? What an education the American people might get if Thomas and his interrogators could switch positions. A clue to the thinking of the more liberal senators may be found in Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden's, D-Del., op-ed piece Sunday in The Washington Post. Biden rejects the idea that God-given rights imply a moral code.
NEWS
September 11, 1991
At the start of his confirmation hearings yesterday, it seemed that the only person who could stop Clarence Thomas from joining the Supreme Court was the nominee himself. That is, he might emulate Robert Bork in grandiloquently defending most everything he had ever written or said. Instead, Judge Thomas earnestly sought to cushion some of the opinions he expressed as a Reagan administration appointee in the 1980s - and to suggest that one year on the federal bench has made him less dogmatic.
NEWS
September 11, 1991 | From Inquirer Wire Services
Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings yesterday sounded like an advanced jurisprudence seminar as Thomas was questioned about the "natural law" method of constitutional interpretation. Thomas has gained national attention in legal circles for invoking "natural law" or "higher law" as a key principle in the Constitution. Natural law is a fuzzy and malleable concept that has been endorsed by liberals as well as conservatives. In contrast to the strict constructionist view that the Constitution must be interpreted by sticking closely to its text, proponents of natural law hold that the Constitution also protects rights that are not specifically enumerated, or set out, in the words of the document.
NEWS
September 11, 1991 | By Aaron Epstein, Knight-Ridder News Service Inquirer wire services contributed to this article
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas opened his Senate hearings yesterday by refusing to say how he stood on abortion and by distancing himself from the controversial theory of natural law. He said he believed the Constitution gave married couples "a right to privacy," but he declined to say whether that right included the option to choose abortion. Thomas tried to disavow his earlier advocacy of a "natural-law philosophy" that Senate Democrats suggested could be invoked to lessen personal privacy and to outlaw abortions.
NEWS
September 11, 1991 | Daily News Wire Services
DAY ONE QUOTE OF THE DAY "My grandparents grew up and lived their lives in an era of blatant segregation and overt discrimination. Their sense of fairness was molded in a crucible of unfairness. I watched as my grandfather was called 'boy.' I watched as my grandmother suffered the indignity of being denied the use of a bathroom. But through it all, they remained fair, decent, good people . . . I follow in their footsteps and I have always tried to give back. " Thomas' opening statement THE QUESTIONERS Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and indications of their stance on Thomas' nomination (though none has announced how he will vote)
NEWS
September 1, 1991 | By Aaron Epstein, Inquirer Washington Bureau
It was nearly 120 years ago that the Supreme Court upheld a state law barring women from becoming lawyers, declaring that it was "the law of the Creator" that a woman "fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. " Today, that discredited 1873 decision is being dredged up by foes of the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Why? Because the 1873 court and Thomas share a common legal theory: natural law. Natural law is founded on the venerable concept of an unwritten moral code.
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