Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to the historic bipartisan confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court:
“As the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court in our nation’s history, Justice Jackson will help ensure that the Court better reflects America and includes perspectives that have long been ignored.
“Justice Jackson’s judicial record on church-state separation law is not extensive but her answers during the confirmation hearings were reassuring. She promised not to impose her personal religious beliefs on others through the law, and she recognized the key role both the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses play in protecting religious freedom for all of us. In particular, she explained:
‘Free exercise of religion and the Establishment Clause—which prevents the government from preferring religion over another—is foundational. It is the principle that many people originally came to this country, when it was founded, in order to support. It was people who fled from religious persecution and wanted to found a country in which everyone could believe what they wanted, and not have the government encroach on, impinge on, burden that right. It is a core foundational right. It is in the First Amendment.’
“Answers like that give us great hope that Justice Jackson will be the champion of church-state separation that our country so desperately needs.
“We look to Justice Jackson to be a bulwark against the Court’s ultra-conservative majority, who seem set on redefining religious freedom as a sword to harm others instead of a shield to protect all of us. We deserve a Justice who will defend our country’s foundational principle of separation of religion and government like our democracy depends on it – because it does.”
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.
Associate Vice President of Communications