Written by Don Byrd
Ahead of Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Baptist Joint Committee’s Holly Hollman writes in helpful detail about what we know of his church-state record, and compares Kavanaugh’s outlook to that of outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy. The piece, published in the latest issue of the BJC’s Report From the Capital, explores Kennedy’s “extensive religious liberty legacy” and Kavanaugh’s apparent “personal and professional interest” in the issue, despite a “sparse” record.
Here is an excerpt, summing up her findings:
The Supreme Court’s precedents acknowledge that the institutional separation of church and state is beneficial to religious liberty. From Kennedy’s legacy, it is evident in Lee v. Weisman and, to a lesser extent, in the boundaries he outlined in Greece v. Galloway. His emphasis on dignity and his view of the harm that may be inflicted by government coercion in religious matters provided some measure of protection against majoritarian abuses. Whether Kavanaugh appreciates the Establishment Clause as a limit on government involvement with religion and an essential protection for individual religious liberty is questionable.
As the Senate hearings commence, the BJC expects a careful examination of the nominee and his approach to religious liberty.
This is important and insightful commentary and analysis on one jurist who had enormous influence over the current state of religious freedom in America, and another who seems poised to have even greater impact. Read the whole thing.