Washington, DC—At a press conference tonight, President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh from the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals to the United States Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. Following the announcement, American Atheists’ legal and policy director Alison Gill released the following statement:
From day one of this administration, the President has bent over backwards to do the bidding of religious ideologues. So it comes as no surprise that the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh continues this pattern of elevating the religious views of an extreme minority above the rights of women, LGBTQ Americans, atheists, and religious minorities.
During his time on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly allowed religion to be used as a license to discriminate and ignore the law. In his view, filling out a form to take advantage of an accommodation under the Affordable Care Act was an illegal ‘burden’ on the religious rights of a corporation. The fact that he has the full-throated support of the Christian-supremacist and anti-LGBTQ hate group the Family Research Council says a lot.
We have closely examined Judge Kavanaugh’s record, and it is clear that he will ignore decades of legal precedent and choose instead to protect bigotry, animus, and religious privilege in the name of their distorted conception of ‘religious freedom.’ This agenda is being advanced by extremist groups to stack the courts in their favor for generations.
Justice Kennedy had a mixed record at best on religious equality issues during his time on the bench, but a future Justice Kavanaugh would be an unmitigated disaster. We urge Senators to protect the shared values of the American people and reject the extremism of this nomination. The American people deserve a Supreme Court that vigorously defends the Constitution’s guarantee of equality under the law for all, not religious privilege for some.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends rights of atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; advocates for the absolute separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.