Tell President Obama: Give Us a Justice Who Will Uphold the Legacy of John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens is not just any Justice. John Paul Stevens is a Justice for the ages. Since 1975 he has been a stellar voice for secular values on our Supreme Court, and he has consistently stood for the timeless secular character of our constitutional heritage.
President Obama now has a momentous responsibility that goes far beyond any one news cycle or any transitory political climate. The decision as to who will replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court is one of the most important and most lasting this president will ever make.
Justice Stevens consistently voted to maintain the principles of church-state separation, and frequently made a specific point of citing atheists and other nonbelievers as those who would be harmed or denied justice in court rulings. On prayer in school, on the funding of religious institutions with taxpayer dollars, and on the special rights granted to religion, Justice Stevens has been on our side.
Currently, this highest judicial body includes Antonin Scalia, who has written that religious believers should "combat" the idea that government authority does not come from God; Samuel Alito, who has penned flattering letters to James Dobson thanking him for his help in being confirmed; Clarence Thomas, who believes that the Establishment Clause of the Constitution does not apply to the states; and Chief Justice John Roberts, who has argued in support of "court-stripping" legislation that would take away judicial power to decide cases on issues such as school prayer - so that minority rights are ultimately decided by politicians, not the courts.
Please send President Obama a message: Appoint a Supreme Court Justice who will follow Justice Stevens' noble example of protecting the secular character of our constitution and considering how nontheists will be affected by court decisions. The president must nominate someone who has expressly advocated enforcement of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and knows, as does Justice Stevens, that the privileging of religion has no place in law or government.
Time is short: The president will nominate someone soon. So here's what we need you to do right now to ensure a Supreme Court that respects the secular character of our nation and our Constitution:
Write to President Obama below. Tell him to nominate a justice in the Stevens mold: a friend to Secular Americans and a guard against theocracy. Then…
Forward this alert to at least five friends, tell them to send their own letter and to sign up for other e-mails from the Secular Coalition for America.
Below is the text the Secular Coalition sent President Obama:
Dear President Obama:
As a Secular American, I believe strongly in protecting the secular heritage of our democracy. Our Constitution makes clear that religion has no place in government, and that the government’s power derives from the people it serves, not a deity.
In Justice John Paul Stevens, we had a voice on the Supreme Court worthy of the founders; a voice that stood against the unconstitutional encroachment of religion into government, and a voice that explicitly took into account nontheistic Americans in his decisions.
John Paul Stevens was not just any justice. John Paul Stevens is a Justice for the ages. He stood for the timeless secular character of our constitutional heritage. Mr. President, you have a momentous and historic responsibility that goes far beyond any one time or particular political climate. Please be sure that your nominee to replace Justice Stevens follows his truly great example. Particularly when certain justices espouse theocratic philosophies, it is essential that your next Supreme Court nominee emulates the Stevens legacy of denying special rights for religion, upholding the separation of church and state, and acknowledging the tens of millions of Secular Americans who always lose when religion is privileged.
Secular Coalition for America