As this issue of Church & State was going to press, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced that he will step down from the high court.
Kennedy, who was appointed to the court by President Ronald W. Reagan in 1987, had a mixed record on separation of church and state. He opposed coercive forms of prayer and religious worship in public schools and wrote the lead opinion in a 1992 case, Lee v. Weisman, that declared official prayers at public school graduation ceremonies unconstitutional. He was also a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights, penning the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
But Kennedy ruled consistently to uphold government funding of religious schools through vouchers and approved of others forms of taxpayer aid to sectarian institutions. He also ruled to allow for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby to deny access to birth control in employee health care plans on religious grounds.
Americans United will be monitoring developments closely. Look for more information in the September issue of Church & State.