Where Does Judge Merrick Garland Stand on Church/State Separation?

Earlier today, President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. He’s widely considered a moderate as well as an apolitical selection (as much as someone can be, anyway).

Merrick_Garland

The nomination itself means we have to ask some important questions: Where does Garland stand on church/state separation? LGBT rights? Women’s rights?

Despite the Republicans in the Senate acting like Obama isn’t the legitimate President, Americans United for Separation of Church and State is urging the GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee to get to the bottom of all this:

“Judge Merrick Garland has a lengthy record of service on the federal bench, yet he does not have a clear record on the issue of the separation of church and state,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “We hope that more information will be revealed about his positions as he proceeds through the vetting process. What is clear, however, is that Judge Garland deserves consideration from U.S. Senate. That is why we urge the Senate to move forward with this nomination.”

Church/state separation is obviously not the only issue progressives care about. But Garland doesn’t have much of a record on any of them, in large part because of where he currently serves:

During 19 years at the D.C. Circuit, Garland has managed to keep a low profile. The court’s largely administrative docket has left him without known positions on issues such as abortion or the death penalty.

There is a paper trail from his many years as a judge, but they offer few hints of how he may rule as a justice.

If Republicans were willing to do their jobs, then maybe we could at least start getting more clarity on all this.

(Image via Wikipedia)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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