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January 24, 2006

“No” on Alito

Listed in: Women's Issues, Other Domestic Policy, Reproductive Rights, Separation of Church and State, NJDC News, Press Releases

As the Senate Judiciary Committee meets this morning to discuss and vote on the appointment of Judge Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, one concern weighs heavily on the minds of many American Jews: the separation of church and state, and how a Justice Alito would vote in this area.

To be sure, there are many troubling items in Judge Alito's record: his expansive view of executive power, his views on women and the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, and his honesty about citing bigoted campus groups like "Concerned Alumni of Princeton University" in previous job applications.

But few issues cut to the heart of being a Jew in America -- or being a member of any minority faith in America -- than Judge Alito's positions on church/state separation. If for these views alone, NJDC today is encouraging the Senate Judiciary Committee and the entire United States Senate to vote against the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito.

"When we combine Judge Alito's demonstrated disregard for the Constitution's protections of religious minorities with his judicial activism, it becomes clear that Judge Alito's brand of jurisprudence threatens every American's religious liberty," National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Ira N. Forman said today.

"Judge Alito's views of the Establishment Clause of our Constitution -- and his knack for viewing the crucial protections it provides in only the narrowest, sparest terms -- shows that he is out of step with settled precedent and our founders' intent.

"Particularly given Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's pivotal role, and her high level of concern regarding public coercion of religious minorities, it is doubly important that her replacement share her proven understanding of the protections provided by our Constitution for minority faith adherents. Yet time and again, Judge Alito's decisions portray a man outside the mainstream when it comes to religious freedom in America. For this reason alone, the National Jewish Democratic Council urges a 'no' vote on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito," Forman continued.