The Glendon Commission, by David Carlin

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, unveils the creation of Commission on Unalienable Rights, headed by Mary Ann Glendon, left, a Harvard Law School professor and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, during an announcement at the US State Department in Washington, Monday, July 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By David Carlin, The Catholic Thing, August 23, 2019

David CarlinIn July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo created something called the “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” the purpose of which is to “provide the Secretary of State advice and recommendations concerning international human rights matters” along with “fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”

The chair of the commission is Mary Ann Glendon, one of America’s leading Catholic intellectuals.  She is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.  What’s more, she was Pompeo’s mentor when he was a student at Harvard Law School.

Many people on the political left have objected to the creation of this commission.  The expression “natural law” makes them nervous, as does the fact that an out-and-out Catholic like Glendon is its chair.

I myself am very pleased, because I hope it may serve, at least in some small way, to check the astonishing proliferation of “fundamental human rights” that we have seen in the United States in recent decades.  The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a right to abortion (Roe v. Wade), a right to homosexual sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas), and a right to same-sex “marriage” (Obergefell v. Hodges).  In the future, if this trend continues, it will probably recognize a right to euthanasia.  And God only knows what else.

Those on the political Left have figured out a way of enacting their agenda while bypassing the democratic process.  You like X and you want it to be the law of the land.  But you can’t get X through Congress or state legislatures.  So you decide that X is a fundamental human right, a right that cannot be negated by popular majorities. ….