WASHINGTON - January 24 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State today deplored the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval of Samuel Alito Jr.’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“The Bush administration’s goal of pushing the nation’s top court to the far right took a step forward with today’s Senate action,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “The Senate committee members who supported the nomination are clearly on board with the president’s goal of creating a court that will roll back civil liberties.
“Alito’s record reveals that he is bent on lowering the wall separating government and religion,” Lynn continued. “It is no wonder that Religious Right activists are working so hard in support of the nomination.”
The Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to move Alito’s nomination to the Senate floor, and a vote there may occur by week’s end. Americans United is working diligently with members of the Senate to educate them about Alito’s alarming religious liberty record and to urge them to vote against confirmation.
Americans United issued a report in December detailing Alito’s staunchly anti-separationist legal record and sent a letter to the committee Jan. 10 urging it to reject the nomination.
Lynn said Americans United urges the Senate to derail the nomination and ask the president to name a judge more in line with Sandra Day O’Connor, the moderate justice whom Alito is nominated to replace.
“O’Connor was not an ideologue,” Lynn added. “She often provided an important vote for preserving the church-state wall and protecting the rights of religious minorities. Alito’s record suggests strongly that he would not be inclined to follow O’Connor’s lead, but would instead help tilt the court sharply to the right.”