Americans United Assault on Michael McConnell WAS: POLITICAL CH
URCHES endorsed by Robertson
Mark.Scarberry at PEPPERDINE.EDU
Thu Jan 10 11:35:41 PST 2002
In response to Prof. Newsom's request:
I quote from the Americans United for Separation website
(http://www.au.org/press/pr5901.htm) what I consider to be despicable and
dishonest propaganda by AUS and Barry Lynn against Michael McConnell:
"Americans United for Separation of Church and State today announced its
opposition to Michael W. McConnell's nomination to the U.S. 10th Circuit
Court of Appeals.
"President George W. Bush is prepared to nominate McConnell, currently a
professor at the University of Utah Law School, to the federal appeals court
despite the scholar's consistent opposition to First Amendment principles
such as church-state separation.
" ' This nomination represents a terrible assault on American freedom by the
Bush administration,' said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of
Americans United. 'McConnell's record is one of relentless hostility for
individual rights. I urge the Senate to swiftly reject his nomination.'
" ' McConnell is the Religious Right's dream court nominee,' continued Lynn.
'He's a conservative Christian who's willing to use the force of government
to impose his viewpoint.'
. . .
"Observed AU's Lynn, 'After looking at his record, McConnell starts to make
Bork look moderate. This man wants to gut the constitutional protections
that Americans count on. He's the wrong man for the job.' "
I find it despicable and dishonest to describe Michael McConnell as (1)
being consistently opposed to First Amendment principles (including but not
limited to church-state separation), (2) being relentlessly hostile to
individual rights, (3) being willing to use the force of the govt to impose
religious right/conservative Christian viewpoints, and (4) wanting to gut
consitutional protections. Barry Lynn and the AUS give demagoguery a bad
name when they treat the nomination of a reasonable, kind, thoughtful
scholar who has worked tirelessly to protect religious liberty for all
(including minority religions) as a "terrible assault on American freedom."
Anyone who knows Michael McConnell or who has taken the time to read with
any care what Michael has written would be amazed at this characterization
of him. The only "terrible assault" here is Barry Lynn's terrible assault on
I'd hope all of us, even those who may disagree strongly with some of the
positions Michael has taken, would find such scare tactics, distortions and
character assasination to be despicable.
You may want to see a letter written to Barry Lynn by Kevin Hasson of the
Becket Fund. www.becketfund.org/other/LynnLetter.pdf . A 15 member ABA
panel unanimously determined that Michael McConnell was "well qualified" for
the judgeship. I also doubt that Professors Laurence Tribe or Akhil Amar or
Cass Sunstein would publicly support a nominee, as they reportedly have
Michael, who could honestly be described the way that Barry Lynn and the AUS
Mark S. Scarberry
Pepperdine University School of Law
mark.scarberry at pepperdine.edu
From: Michael deHaven Newsom [mailto:mnewsom at LAW.HOWARD.EDU]
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 7:54 AM
To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: POLITICAL CHURCHES endorsed by Robertson
Could you please indicate just how AUS has acted despicably and dishonestly?
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