The U.S. Senate today voted 54-45 to confirm Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court.
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement:
“Neil Gorsuch has demonstrated that he does not respect the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state, which is the foundation of religious freedom in America. I am gravely concerned he’ll vote to erode that principle and put one of our nation’s most essential liberties at risk.”
As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch repeatedly ruled against church-state separation, including:
- In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, he voted to allow corporations to cite “religious freedom” and restrict employee access to birth control, ignoring the Constitution’s protections that prohibit religious exemptions that would result in real harm to others. And in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, Gorsuch also sided with non-profit groups making spurious religious freedom claims in order to block their employees and students from receiving birth control coverage from third-party insurance companies, even though the religious groups do not have to pay for it or otherwise provide it.
- In Green v. Haskell County Board of Commissioners and American Atheists v. Davenport, Gorsuch objected to 10th Circuit decisions striking down government-sponsored religious displays, arguing that the displays were constitutional. In the latter case, he went so far as to argue that the cross, the preeminent symbol of Christianity, doesn’t actually promote that religion.
You can read more about Americans United's objections to Gorsuch's confirmation here.
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.