Americans United for Separation of Church and State has urged the U.S. Senate to reject the nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, "Bill Pryor has waged an unrelenting crusade in the courts against church-state separation. He clearly wants to overturn a half century of court rulings upholding religious liberty and other fundamental constitutional protections. It's hard to think of any nominee less suited for a seat on the federal appeals court. I urge all Americans to call their senators and oppose this nomination."
Pryor's nomination is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 11.
Pryor built his political career in Alabama around his legal support for a local judge's display of the Ten Commandments and sponsorship of Christian prayers in the courtroom. More recently, the state attorney general has enthusiastically represented Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in his campaign to erect a two-ton Ten Commandments monument in the state judicial building in Montgomery.
At a 1997 "Save the Commandments" rally in Montgomery, Pryor told the crowd, "God has chosen, through his son Jesus Christ, this time, this place for all Christians Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox to save our country and save our courts."
In his war on church-state separation, Pryor's legal team has contended that the First Amendment's provisions do not fully apply to the states and that local officials may follow their own definition of the Constitution's requirements, even if it conflicts with the rulings of the federal courts.
Pryor has also maintained a close official relationship with extreme Religious Right groups. In the Ten Commandments case, he appointed Herb Titus, founding dean of TV preacher Pat Robertson's law school, to defend Moore's religious display. In an earlier school prayer lawsuit, Pryor named as assistant attorney general Jay Sekulow, head of Robertson's legal group, the American Center for Law and Justice.
Americans United is currently preparing a report on Pryor's extreme record.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State 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.