Thursday, September 09, 2010

Re: Kathleen Rice - District Attorney of Nassau County

From: Charles E. Rice, Professor Emeritus, Notre Dame Law School

Dear Mr. Likoudis:

You asked my opinion about Kathleen Rice’s email statement for Labor Day. Kathleen, as you know, is my niece. She is the District Attorney of Nassau County and is running for New York Attorney General in the Democratic primary. Her Labor Day statement said in relevant part:

“I’m the granddaughter of an Irish immigrant who came to our country alone as a teenager with $20 in his pocket. He built a business as a bricklayer and through hard work and advancing labor protections, it became possible for him to prosper and for our family to grow. Generations later, I work hard to honor his sacrifice….I am running for attorney general to honor my grandfather….”

My wife, Mary, and I have a close relationship with Kathleen. We disagree with her advocacy of the “pro-choice” position on abortion, her enthusiastic acceptance of support from Planned Parenthood and similar groups and her strong advocacy of the legalization of same-sex marriage, including her promise to sue to invalidate the federal Defense of Marriage Act. We have discussed, amicably, our disagreements, with Kathleen. Despite those disagreements, Kathleen has our love, respect and prayers for her change of heart and mind on these issues.

I no longer live in New York and I have said nothing in public about Kathleen’s campaign. I must, however, reject publicly Kathleen’s Labor Day statement that “she is running for attorney general to honor my grandfather.” Her grandfather, who died in 1946, is my father, Laurence J. Rice. Perhaps that statement was written by an ignorant staffer rather than by the candidate herself. I hope so, because it dishonors my father. It implies that my father, who championed the cause of the oppressed in Ireland and elsewhere and who was an exemplary Catholic family man of total loyalty to the laws of nature and of God as taught by the Catholic Church, would be honored by a political campaign invoking his name in support of the legalization of the execution of the innocent and helpless unborn child and the elevation of same-sex relations to the legal status of marriage. Both of these initiatives, I am absolutely certain, he would regard as intrinsically evil. He would object strenuously to the misappropriation of his name in support of them. My father was a man of uncompromising integrity, charity and faith. He reserved an especially withering and vocal scorn for Irish Catholic politicians who abandon the truth for political advantage.

Maybe campaign rhetoric doesn’t mean anything. But I must object publicly to such a hijacking of the name and reputation of my father.


Charles E. Rice

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