[UPDATE] Action Alert: Fair-Minded Judicial Nominee is Under Attack!

Action Alert: Fair-Minded Judicial Nominee is Under Attack!
From Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Take Action: Urge Your Senators to Support Judge David Hamilton

Next week, the U.S. Senate may vote on President Obama’s first judicial nominee, Judge David Hamilton, who has been nominated to fill a seat on the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Judge Hamilton is an experienced, fair-minded judge who has spent years at the District Court level, but conservative groups are targeting him and portraying him as anti-God. We cannot let a judicial nominee go down for his application of the basic principles of religious liberty found in the U.S. Constitution!

In 2006, Hamilton wrote an opinion in the legislative prayer case, Hinrichs v. Bosma, in which he ruled that a pattern of sectarian prayer in the Indiana General Assembly was unconstitutional. In doing so, Hamilton applied the clear mandates of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and followed Supreme Court and other federal court precedent. The prohibition on sectarian prayer has been well-established in the courts, and Hamilton had a duty as a District Court Judge to uphold established law. The attacks on him for this reasonable decision are unacceptable.

Judge Hamilton has proved to be a highly qualified nominee, and he enjoys broad support. Yet some Senators including those who demanded an up-or-down vote for all past nominees have threatened to vote against a cloture motion on Hamilton next week. Judge Hamilton clearly needs your support. Write a letter to your Senators now urging them to confirm Judge Hamilton speedily.

Take Action: Urge Your Senators to Support Judge David Hamilton

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Tags: AU.org, Action Alert, Americans United, President Obama, Separation of Church and State, judicial nominee, separation-of-church-and-state, socas

Comment by Dave G on November 17, 2009 at 10:49am
Unfortunately, my Senators would not only discard my letter, but it would probably increase their desire to oppose Judge Hamilton.
Comment by Steve on November 17, 2009 at 7:11pm
Thanks for the Alert
Comment by Ashli Axtell on November 17, 2009 at 10:40pm
Thanks for that, Johnny!
Comment by Johnny on November 19, 2009 at 7:06pm
Senate Vote Confirming David Hamilton To Federal Appeals Court
November 19, 2009

The U.S. Senate did the right thing today by confirming David Hamilton to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The action came despite Religious Right-led demands that the Senate not even hold a vote on Hamilton. The effort failed, and Hamilton was confirmed by a 59-39 vote.

“The Religious Right tried to keep a qualified judge off the appeals court, and two words describe the result: epic fail,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United.

Lynn added, “During the presidency of George W. Bush, Religious Right groups complained when judicial nominees did not receive prompt votes in the Senate – yet they tried to do the same thing to Judge Hamilton. The rank hypocrisy of these groups is breathtaking, and I’m glad their tactics didn’t work.”

Hamilton, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in March, came under attack by Religious Right groups for an opinion he issued as a lower court judge striking down sectarian invocations in the Indiana House of Representatives. Other organizations attacked him over an abortion-related ruling he issued.

Several Religious Right groups, including the American Center for Law and Justice, the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition and Concerned Women for America, mobilized to block a vote on Hamilton. They issued bulletins to their supporters and demanded that the Senate turn back his nomination.

On Nov. 10, two dozen far-right groups and individuals issued a joint statement labeling Hamilton “unqualified” and asserting that his rulings “reflect his bias toward extreme leftist ideology” and saying that he has expressed a “bizarre hostility to religious speech.”

AU countered that these attacks were wild distortions of the facts. Hamilton, AU noted, is clearly qualified for the slot. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a Fulbright Scholar and served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for 15 years.

“Religious Right groups had no argument against Hamilton except that they disagreed with some of his rulings,” Lynn said. “These groups seek veto power over appointments to the federal judiciary, and the Senate was right to reject their churlish demands.”

On Nov. 16, Americans United sent letters to every senator, debunking Religious Right attacks on the nominee and urging a vote to confirm him. AU also issued an alert to its members, asking them to contact their senators and urge a vote for confirmation.

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