Church and State

A judge fines the Catholic bishops

Federal judges are not known for their patience with uncooperative witnesses and foot-dragging litigants. But never before, to anyone's recollection, has a member of the federal bench cited the entire Roman Catholic hierarchy for contempt of court. Last week in New York City, however, Federal Judge Robert L. Carter socked the Catholic bishops of the U.S. with an eye-popping fine of $100,000 a day until they comply with a court order. The bishops' sin: refusing the judge's instructions to give suing pro-choicers internal church documents on the church's antiabortion campaign. The critical underlying issue that has dragged the bishops into court:...

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