Published: November 4, 2005
To the Editor:
Your Nov. 4 news article “Nominee Is Said to Question Church-State Rulings,” about comments that Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. made to senators regarding his views on cases involving “church-state” issues, states, “Many liberals and religious minorities view the court’s jurisprudence on separation of church and state over the last 50 years as a bedrock principle of American life.”
True enough, but your article relates this issue only to the controversial questions regarding “government displays of the Ten Commandments and other public forms of religious expression” that fall under the high court’s confused rulings on the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Religious minorities care just as much, if not more, about individual religious liberty under the free exercise clause that the Supreme Court, led by Justice Antonin Scalia, has eviscerated over the past 15 years. On this front, it is most encouraging that Judge Alito’s record shows support for a vigorous protection of personal religious liberty. He has upheld the rights of Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Native Americans and evangelical Christians in ways that show an appreciation for the diverse needs of adherents to diverse faiths.
Nathan J. Diament
Washington, Nov. 4, 2005
The writer is director of public policy, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations