Sep 26, 2020

Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Americans United also prepared this report detailing Barrett’s troubling record on church-state separation.

“Americans United opposes the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett because her record demonstrates hostility toward church-state separation – the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all. The promise of the First Amendment is that the government, including our courts, will treat us all equally, regardless of our religious beliefs or whether we are nonreligious. In America, we are all free to believe or not as we choose, as long as we don’t harm others. 

“Barrett does not respect this ‘do no harm’ principle. Her writings and professional affiliations with legal-advocacy groups leading the effort to weaponize religious freedom indicate that she believes religious freedom can be used as a sword to harm others, rather than as the shield the Constitution intended it to be. She has shown that she would allow claims of religious freedom to be misused to harm women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, the nonreligious and others. 

“Some will point to Barrett's religious views and personal affiliations as reasons to oppose her. But a nominee's religious beliefs are not relevant; her position on church-state separation is.

“If Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, that separation is at risk. The right to love whom you choose, the right to make decisions about your reproductive and other health care, the religious-freedom rights of students and families in our public schools, the right to decide whether your money will fund religious practices, the right to be treated the same under the law regardless of your religious or nonreligious beliefs – all are at stake. We need our courts to protect the religious freedom and rights of everyone – not just of a privileged minority.

“Since the election is already underway, the American people must be allowed to decide whether they want the next Supreme Court justice to carry on Justice Ginsburg’s legacy of defending our nation’s founding principle of religious freedom – and the vulnerable people it protects. The Senate should not consider Justice Ginsburg’s successor until after the people have spoken and the next president is inaugurated.”

Americans United’s report, “The Nomination Of Amy Coney Barrett: What’s At Stake? The Separation Of Church And State,” is available here.

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. Learn more at


(PHOTO CREDIT: C-SPAN screenshot.)