Fla. Gov. Should Remove Intolerant Minister from Judicial Board, Says AU

Article excerpt

A member of a Florida commission that helps select state court judges has inappropriately asked nominees about their religious beliefs and should be removed from office, Americans United charged last month.

The Miami Daily Business Review reported Jan. 8 that Broward Judicial Nomination Commission (JNC) member O'Neal Dozier has asked several candidates for Broward County judgeships inappropriate questions about their religious beliefs, such as whether they attend church and are "God-fearing." Several of those judicial nominees complained about those types of questions.

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, sent a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush Jan. 14 calling on him to fire Dozier.

"Dozier's overt religious bigotry is wholly unacceptable and he must no longer be allowed an official role in the selection of judges in Florida," Lynn wrote. "It is appalling that in 2004 judicial nominees are being subjected to an inquisition. Religious litmus tests are unconstitutional in America."

In addition to grilling candidates about religion, Dozier has also been accused of questioning judicial candidates about their personal lives and their stands on controversial social issues. Broward County Assistant Public Defender Jayme Cassidy said Dozier asked her about her status as a single mother during a screening interview in Fort Lauderdale. …