Americans United Reaffirms Opposition To Roberts Nomination On Eve Of Judiciary Committee Vote

Chief Justice Nominee's Statements On Church And State During Hearings Were Unpersuasive, Says AU's Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today reaffirmed its opposition to Supreme Court chief justice nominee John G. Roberts, saying the organization’s concerns were not allayed by the recently concluded Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

“Nothing I heard persuades me that Roberts has an adequate commitment to defending the religious liberty of all Americans,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United.

Lynn said he was especially troubled by Roberts’ criticism of the “Lemon test,” a three-part standard for determining church-state violations that the high court formulated in 1971. Roberts called the test “a survivor” and noted that it is controversial on the high court.

During his service in the first Bush administration, Roberts coauthored briefs at the Supreme Court urging the justices to move to a weaker standard that would allow more government promotion of religion.

When asked during the hearings if he agreed with John F. Kennedy’s belief in an America “where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Roberts equivocated and said it depends on what is meant by absolute.

Remarked Lynn, “Roberts was asked about church and state several times. His answers were at best vague and evasive. We simply cannot risk our religious liberty by confirming Roberts as the next chief justice.”

Lynn called on members of the Judiciary Committee to reject Roberts.

“America deserves a chief justice who is not afraid to openly endorse the very bulwark of religious freedom in America the wall of separation between church and state,” Lynn said.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.