Americans United Assault on Michael McConnell
Michael deHaven Newsom
mnewsom at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Mon Jan 14 13:41:38 PST 2002
I suspect that landlords, as a group, have more power than tenants. I also suspect
that the powerful do not always have their way, but it does not follow that they
are not powerful.
Greg Wallace wrote:
> I am having difficulty understanding how your example proves your point.
> Are you suggesting that the landlady is part of a minority that has a
> great deal of social, cultural, and political power? That the unmarried
> (or, perhaps, gay) couple belongs to a minority that has little or no
> social, cultural, and political power?
> If the landlady belongs to such a powerful minority, why wasn't that
> minority able to secure a legislative exemption for her action?
> Greg Wallace
> Campbell University
> >I appreciate Mark's response. I think that what is relevant for purposes of
> >this listserv is what I take to be the strong "associationist" point of view
> >that Michael holds. In much the same way that "free speech
> >maximalization" may
> >distort the meaning of the First Amendment, so too an excessively strong
> >commitment to free association. Thus such views directly implicate the
> >of the Religion Clauses.
> >The common thread in both views is an excessive deference to the majority,
> >or to
> >the status quo. Michael's views appear to protect minorities, but I suspect
> >that they only protect certain minorities, minorities that have a great
> >deal of
> >social, cultural and political power, providing a way for them to exclude
> >that they do not like from the lives and their world, all under the guise of
> >"free association."
> >The hypothetical of the landlady who, for religious reasons, does not want to
> >rent an apartment to an unmarried couple, a case that was discussed on this
> >listserv recently, implicates what I take to be Micael's strong
> >point of view. I conclude that the greater harm is visited upon the
> >couple if the landlady prevails than is visited upon the landlady if she
> >Part of the argument for the landlady is some sort of "associationist" right.
> >Without characterizing Barry Lynn's prose, something that I choose not to do,
> >surely one can reasonably object to an analysis that supports the
> >landlady, and
> >one can reasonably object to judicial nominees who support that analysis,
> >as one can reasonably object to a nominee who takes my view of the matter.
> >"Scarberry, Mark" wrote:
> >> 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
> >> Michael McConnell.
> >> 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
> >> describe him.
> >> Mark S. Scarberry
> >> Pepperdine University School of Law
> >> mark.scarberry at pepperdine.edu
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> 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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