With the announcement of Brett Kavanaugh as Donald Trump‘s nominee to the Supreme Court, atheist and church/state separation groups are weighing in on what his confirmation would mean.
Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America:
The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court reveals that President Trump prioritizes the political ambitions of the religious right over the interests of the American people. Judge Kavanaugh was selected from a list of candidates that were handpicked and carefully vetted by advocacy groups committed to advancing an agenda that places religion above the law. At this crucial moment in our history, we need a Supreme Court Justice who will faithfully interpret the Constitution, not simply serve to rubber stamp the policies of President Trump and the religious right.
In 2015, Kavanaugh vigorously dissented from the DC Circuit’s refusal to reconsider a religious liberty challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate en banc, or as a full court rather than a panel. The case centered around Priests for Life, a Catholic organization which claimed that the accommodation from the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act was itself an infringement on their religious freedom. Priests for Life argued that filling out the paperwork ‘triggered’ the process by which their employees could receive contraceptive coverage and that this, in and of itself, was a ‘substantial burden.’ In his dissent, Kavanaugh said that forcing a religious organization to file this paperwork is the written equivalent of compelling them to ‘raise their hand’ and help the government provide a medication to which they are religiously opposed. Kavanaugh’s dissent betrays a reckless credulity for the claims of hardship made by faith-based entities even when it comes at a clear and tangible expense to their employees.
The President failed in his duty to nominate a Justice to the highest court in the land tonight, opting instead to nominate an individual that is on a personal crusade to impose their beliefs on the rest of the nation. We immediately call on the President to try again, by withdrawing the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh and searching for a candidate with an impeccable judicial record beyond reproach. If the President fails to do this, the duty falls on the United States Senators to carefully deliberate on the merits of the President’s nominee. At a time so critical to our nation, nothing less than the fate of our democracy, and the definition of who we are as Americans, falls in the hands of this one jurist. While we are dismayed that the divisions in our nation have brought us to where we are in our history today, this moment — this critical decision — will truly be the most important of any sitting U.S. Senator and we implore each one of them to think long and hard about the massive responsibility before them.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation says President Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be “a disaster for the constitutional principle of separation between state and church” and tilt the court to the religious right for more than a generation.
“If Kavanaugh is confirmed, he will unquestionably eviscerate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” warn FFRF Executive Directors Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It seems unlikely the cherished wall of separation between state and church protecting true religious liberty could survive intact. Many of our hard-won freedoms would be gutted.”
“This is the legal fight of the century for America. Our nation’s future, our constitution and our civil rights hang in the balance,” says Gaylor.
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