Don’t let the views exchanged by two high profile Catholic law professors during a May 28 program at the National Press Club deceive you. Douglas Kmiec and Robert George are friends.
Throughout the 80-minute program sponsored by The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, the two constitutional law experts acknowledged each other’s pro-life credentials. They mixed compliments for each other with their arguments for their point of view. They repeatedly referred to each other as “my friend.”
Kmiec, professor of law at Pepperdine University, made no bones about the fact he continues to support President Barack Obama and his stated goal of reducing the incidence of abortion. His measured statements were in stark contrast with the rapidly speaking George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, who seemed to want to make as many points as he could in his 20-minutes on the dais.
During a question-and-answer session that followed the formal presentations, the two well-known law professors continued pressing their main talking points.
George said Obama has not opened himself to reaching agreement on common concerns while listing several steps that the Princeton professor said would lead to fewer deaths of unborn children, such as banning second and third trimester abortions.
Kmiec said it was quite the contrary, that Obama’s proposals to fund programs that support pregnant women cut across a wide swatch of Catholic social teaching and are reason enough to engage him on the issue of abortion.
Mary Ann Glendon, professor of law at Harvard Law School and former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, kept a low profile in moderating the program. While the issue never came up, she gained plenty of publicity for recently refusing to accept the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame for her contributions to society as one of the country’s leading Catholics. She turned down the honor because Notre Dame gave Obama an honorary degree during commencement.