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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Roberts on the First Amendment

Here's an excerpt from Americans United's latest weblog.
The Religious Right's endorsement comes as no surprise. Roberts has long supported the far Right's ongoing efforts to dismantle privacy rights and the church-state wall. As Americans United reported yesterday, Roberts has held political jobs in the Reagan and Bush (One) administrations, where he had a hand in crafting policy aimed at curbing privacy and religious liberty rights.

For example, he co-authored a brief for the first Bush administration that called for allowing clergy-led prayers at public school events. In that 1990 brief, Roberts maintained that religious ceremonies should be permitted not only at public school graduation ceremonies but in all aspects of "our public life" in proper recognition of our "Nation's religious heritage." The brief sounds as if it could have been authored by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who spent years trying to keep a hulking Ten Commandments display within the state Judicial Building. Moore argued unsuccessfully before a string of federal courts using an almost identical argument to that of Roberts.

In Lee v. Weisman, the high court on a 5-4 vote ruled that public schools could not sponsor prayer at school events, such as graduations. In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy stated that Roberts' sweeping arguments favoring prayer at public school events (and other forms of government-sponsored religion) "turns conventional First Amendment analysis on its head."

For the past week I've watched countless hours of news programming dealing with Roberts. I've watched everything from the O'Reilly Factor to Hardball to Tucker Carlson's new show - but yet no mention of Robert's Church-State views. Nothing but Roe Roe Roe...but Robert's views on church-state seem just a bit too accomodationist-friendly.

Most of the time Americans United hits the nail on the head - but I hope they're wrong about Roberts. As far as Church-State relations go - we need another Sandra Day not someone who will slowly chip away at our religious freedoms. Like the former director of the Baptist Joint Committee James Dunn once said, we need a "barbed-wire fence" to ensure the separation of church and state not a flimsy cardboard wall. We need more allies on the Court!

Roberts definately has some tough questions to answer in the upcoming weeks!


Blogger Jim said...

Have you heard that Hillary Clinton and Sen. Byrd are going to support the new guy?


3:40 PM


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