Magazine article Church & State

The McConnell Nomination: Who's the Real Extremist? (Editorials)

Magazine article Church & State

The McConnell Nomination: Who's the Real Extremist? (Editorials)

Article excerpt

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh is angry because several national groups, Americans United among them, have opposed the nomination of University of Utah law professor Michael McConnell to the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

At a Justice Department press conference Sept. 17, Dinh called Americans United and other groups opposed to McConnell "extremists" who "pander to paranoia and fabricate controversy."

The Justice Department has worked hard to portray McConnell as a pleasant moderate who would never think of mutilating the Constitution. The facts tell a different story--and that's no fabrication.

Americans United has been aware of McConnell's unrelenting hostility toward the separation of church and state for a long time. McConnell loathes that principle so much that in 1995 he actually drafted a substitute for the First Amendment. His replacement for the handiwork of James Madison and other Founding Fathers would have required tax funding of religion and opened the door to official school prayer. He had the temerity to call it a "Religious Equality Amendment."

Over the years, McConnell has asserted that not only may government fund religion and religious schools, but that under certain conditions it may be required to do so. He insists that tax breaks can go to religious schools that engage in the rankest forms of racial discrimination. Even the Supreme Court's ultraconservative tag-team of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have never gone that far. …

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