Church & State Separation: What’s at Stake with the Next Supreme Court Justice


The separation of religion and government is the linchpin of religious freedom for all, but President Trump – and many of the nominees on his short list to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court – have shown little respect for this fundamental American value. We cannot afford to have a Supreme Court that does the same. Read more about Barrett's troubling record on church-state separation here.

The American people agree: 60 percent of likely voters said protecting the separation of religion and government is either one of the most important issues or very important to them, according to a recent AU poll. 

Our country’s next Supreme Court nominee must uphold the separation of church and state as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Religious freedom for all Americans – the right to practice any faith, or no faith at all, as long as you don’t harm others – hangs in the balance. 

In her many years on the Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a staunch and consistent vote for separation of church and state. She voted against using religion to justify discrimination or diverting taxpayer funds to private religious schools. She voted for the rights of religious minorities, women and LGBTQ people, rights that are continually endangered by the claims of religious extremists.

The election is already underway and the next president chosen this November must nominate Justice Ginsburg’s replacement after the people have spoken. The majority of Americans deserve the chance to vote for their values, their rights and their Constitution.

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What's at Stake?

The separation of church and state is at stake. We need our Supreme Court to protect the religious freedom and rights of everyone. Another Trump nominee risks:

  • Whether religious exemptions will be used to undermine discrimination laws and deny access to health care.

  • Whether taxpayers will be forced to pay for religious activities.

  • Whether religious freedom will apply to everyone.

  • Whether public school students could be forced to pray in school. 

Learn More in this Factsheet 


Justice Ginsburg’s Legacy

Justice Ginsburg understood that the Constitution established religious freedom as a shield to protect us, not a sword to harm others. Time and again, she defended every American’s right to practice any faith, or no faith at all, without harming others. 

Check out this list of articles to learn more about Justice Ginsburg.