People for the American Way Report in Opposition to the Confirmation of Michael W. McConnell

II. McConnell’s Extreme Views On The First Amendment Would Undermine Genuine Religious Liberty

McConnell has spent much of his career advocating a re-interpretation of the First Amendment that would seriously undermine true religious liberty. His interpretation would authorize direct government funding of religion and would provide special exemptions for religious organizations from important laws, such as anti-discrimination statutes, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and state sales and use taxes. The special rights and preferential treatment that he would give to religious organizations under such laws are so extreme that his views have been unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court in a number of cases. He has criticized numerous cases on religion by the Supreme Court and other federal courts as wrongly decided, including precedents that protect the rights of religious minorities.

McConnell has advanced his well-known views in this area through his prolific writings as well as through congressional testimony and selection of cases to advocate before the courts. Appointing him to the federal bench would put him in a position in which he could actually impose his harmful views on individual Americans and our constitutional system. The future of religious liberty in America should not be entrusted to Michael McConnell.

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