The editorial responds to criticism of the Court's decision in Gonzales v. Carhart, in particular, the various suggestions that the Court's majority made its decision based on its Catholicism and not the law.
The heart of the editorial is these two paragraphs:
The editorial loses focus at the end, but I found it convincing. The anti-catholic accusations impugn the integrity of five people who took oaths (no doubt on Bibles!) to uphold the Constitution. Such accusatons also undermine the credibility of the Court. Finally, such accusations smack of religious bigotry.
Playing the religion card is worse than silly because it shows how intellectually lazy the liberal defense of Roe has become. There are many reasons why the Court upheld the federal partial-birth abortion law, but not a state ban that it struck down in 2000. The Court found the state law too vague, while the federal law is more specific about the prohibited procedures. The Court may have been demonstrating more respect for the judgment of Congress than that of the states. Or the Court may have been following public opinion: Polls show that a majority of Americans agree with the partial-birth abortion ban. Almost two-thirds of the Senate, including Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy and Harry Reid voted for it. Four years ago, today's critics didn't ask whether Mr. Leahy's and Mr. Reid's votes were inspired by their Catholic or Mormon faiths.
Rather than develop reasoned responses to the Court or the arguments of conservatives, liberal critics resort to the mystical for easy answers. They suggest that irrational religious faith or pure Catholic doctrine handed down from the Vatican drives the Justices. It is much easier to dismiss your opponents as driven by mysterious forces than to do the hard work of developing arguments built on human reason. This religious critique recalls the nativist fear of Catholicism that too often appears in U.S. history. Senate Democrats appealed to the same bias when they filibustered judicial nominees for their "deeply held" religious beliefs, as Sen. Charles Schumer said of now-circuit judge William Pryor.
That aside, the editorial does call out critics of the decision as "intellectually lazy." I recall the comments thread here being quite active after this decision (and without a post to fuel it), so I thought I'd use this editorial as a jumping off point for people to discuss the editorial, the validity of the criticisms, and the merits of the decision.