Senate Should Reject Extreme Judicial Nominee

AU's Lynn Says Janice Rogers Brown Is Wrong Choice To Serve On Federal Appeals Court Bench

The Senate should reject Janice Rogers Brown, one of the Bush administration's most extreme nominees to the federal bench, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

A cloture vote on Brown's nomination is expected in the Senate today, with a floor vote likely to follow soon afterward. If Brown's nomination is approved, she will be sworn in to a lifetime appointment on one of the nation's most significant federal appeals courts, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia.

Americans United has objected to Brown's nomination as one of the administration's most outlandish.

"Janice Brown has shown a startling lack of judicial temperament," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "She has attacked the First Amendment principle of church-state separation as well as other fundamental American principles of democracy. Her legal opinions and public speeches on constitutional law provide senators ample reason to scuttle this nomination."

Americans United has sent letters to the Senate Judiciary Committee outlining Brown's troubling record. For example, in a 1999 speech at Pepperdine University, Brown accused the Supreme Court of over-reliance "on a rather uninformative metaphor of the 'wall of separation' between church and state."

During the same speech, Brown proffered that the U.S. Supreme Court may have been wrong in 1940 to assert that the 14th Amendment applies the Bill of Rights to the states, a process known as "incorporation."

More recently, Brown has charged that the nation is in the midst of a "war" over religious values.

Addressing a church-sponsored breakfast for judges and lawyers April 24 in Connecticut, she asserted, "There seems to have been no time since the Civil War that this country was so bitterly divided. It's not a shooting war, but it is a war.... These are perilous times for people of faith, not in the sense that we are going to lose our lives, but in the sense that it will cost you something if you are a person of faith who stands up for what you believe in and say those things out loud."

Lynn, urging senators to defeat Brown's nomination, argues that Brown's views are wildly out of step with those held by mainstream jurists and therefore she should be deemed unfit to serve on a federal appeals court.

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.