Contact: Nathan Bupp
Amherst, New York (September 8, 2005)—The Council for Secular Humanism (CSH), representing secular Americans, some fourteen percent of the American population, today released a statement opposing the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Declaring Roberts hostile to the settled law of church/state separation, the statement asserts that “there are powerful indications that Judge Roberts does not believe in government neutrality in matters of religion.”
The statement points out that as a lawyer in the Reagan White House, Roberts urged the passage of legislation that would strip the federal government of jurisdiction over school-prayer cases, thereby, leaving it to the states. “[T]o divest the federal courts of jurisdiction over enforcement of the First Amendment is a radical proposal that is far beyond the pale of mainstream jurisprudence,” the statement says.
David Koepsell, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, commented that “no less than thirty years of constitutional interpretation of our most precious rights is at stake, and we urge all Americans who care about those rights to stand with us in standing against Roberts.”
Council for Secular Humanism statement follows below:
The Council for Secular Humanism represents the interests of nonreligious people worldwide. Our objective is for governments to treat believer and nonbeliever equally. Unfortunately, there are powerful indications that Judge John G. Roberts does not believe in government neutrality in matters of religion.
Twenty years ago, as a lawyer in the Reagan White House, he urged the passage of legislation that would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over school-prayer cases. To divest the federal courts of jurisdiction over enforcement of the First Amendment is a grave and radical proposal that is far beyond the pale of mainstream jurisprudence.
Roberts also urged in legal briefs that the Supreme Court, on which he might soon sit, reverse Roe v. Wade by way of a new finding that there is no constitutionally protected right to abortion. Would Judge Roberts also extend this view to contraception?
So-called conservatives claim that their primary objective is to secure limited government. Yet, there can be no true limited government if there is not an enforceable right of privacy.
The Council for Secular Humanism is devoted to attaining a modern civilization in which not only are believers and nonbelievers equal before the law, but also in which the dignity and privacy rights of each human being are protected from majority overreaching. The Council is thus committed to preserving the true intent of the Bill of Rights. To this end, the record already revealed about Judge Roberts is contrary to the ideal of an officially secular society, in which all branches of government are limited in the degree to which they can preempt individual choices.
We urge all Americans to join us in writing to our senators to express our opposition to Roberts, to ask him tough and revealing questions about his stance on these vital issues, and to reject him for those positions which are antithetical to the liberties that are guaranteed by our constitution and by human rights.
The Council for Secular Humanism is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization promoting rational inquiry, secular values, and positive human development through the advancement of secular humanism. The Council, publisher of the bimonthly journal Free Inquiry, has a Web site at www.secularhumanism.org.