Americans United Urges Senate To Reject Controversial Federal Court Nominee

James Leon Holmes Is Wrong Person For Federal Bench, Says AU's Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today called on the Senate to reject the nomination of James Leon Holmes to a federal court in Arkansas on the grounds that the nominee is a right-wing zealot who lacks judicial temperament.

"Holmes is clearly the wrong person for a seat on the federal judiciary," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "His views on church-state separation and other issues of personal liberty make him an inappropriate nominee for a judgeship."

The Senate is considering the nomination today, more than a year after the Judiciary Committee sent the nomination to the floor with no recommendation.

In a 2002 address to the Society of Catholic Social Scientists in Ann Arbor, Mich., Holmes questioned the legitimacy of church-state separation, noting that "we are left with some unease about this notion that Christianity and the political order should be assigned to separate spheres."

Noting that "Christianity transcends the political order and cannot be subordinated to the political order," he also suggested that eventually religion and government would be one.

"The final reunion of Church and state will take place at the end of time, when Christ will claim definitive political power of all creation, inaugurating an entirely new society based on the supernatural," Holmes declared at the religious gathering.

Holmes, who has served as president of Arkansas Right to Life and as secretary of the Unborn Child Amendment Committee, has also offered up out-of-the-mainstream views on the role of women, reproductive rights and gay rights.

In a 1997 article for an Arkansas publication, he and his wife wrote that, "The wife is subordinate to herself and to her husband" and that "the woman is to place herself under the authority of the man."

"This is one of the most divisive nominations put forth by the Bush administration, and that is saying a lot," Lynn added. "The Senate should reject Holmes' nomination."

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.