By David Silverman
In coming weeks, a fierce battle is expected on Capitol Hill over President Obama’s choice to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Religious right groups are already warning that they will oppose the selection of any “activist judges” or other nominees who will uphold the strict separation of church and state.
Stevens was an important “swing vote” on the high court, although his decisions did not always reflect a strong interpretation of the First Amendment. He nevertheless often upheld the separation of government and religion, as in the historic case of BOERNE v. FLORES. He noted that in crafting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Congress had provided religious believers and groups with special rights and legal instruments which “no Atheist” possessed. Stevens often parted ways with more conservative justices who have little or no regard for the wall of separation between church and state.”
Justices on the high court often serve for decades, well beyond the political careers of the presidents who nominate them. There may well more vacancies on the Supreme Court; this means that President Obama will likely play a crucial role in shaping the ideological complexion of SCOTUS for many years to come.
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The White House needs to hear from Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists and other secularists who have a crucial stake in making sure that our Supreme Court upholds the First Amendment, protecting both freedom of religion and freedom from religion! American Atheists urges you to contact President Obama now and encourage him to name an appointee to SCOTUS who reflects this important constitutional principle.
There are several ways you can do this — fax, phone, e-mail and (most valued of all) “snail mail.” Make your comments succinct and polite. Urge President Obama to “stand firm” against bullying from religious right partisans, and support appointees who are unafraid to declare their explicit support for the separation of church and state!
Here is contact information:
You can call or write to the President:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Please include your e-mail address
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Visitors Office: 202-456-2121
You may also send comments through a White House web page form at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact