CFI Offers Cautious Support for Supreme Court Nominee

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2009
Contact: Nathan Bupp, Vice President of Communications - (207) 358-9785

Says Senate Judiciary Committee Should Question Sotomayor on Church-State Separation


Amherst, New York (May 26, 2009)—The Center for Inquiry, a group committed to fostering a secular society, has today congratulated President Obama for his nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court.


Arguing that the ideological balance on the High Court must be preserved, Paul Kurtz, chairman and founder of the Center for Inquiry is calling upon members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to carefully determine Sonia Sotomayor’s views on church-state separation. Said Kurtz, “While we support her nomination and recognize her distinguished record, we are concerned that her views on the separation of church and state are unclear. We are urging for due diligence.”  Kurtz says that it is imperative that the president’s choice to replace Souter be as sympathetic to religious liberty as Souter himself was. “He was a crucial member of the bare five to four majority that, by a thread, has preserved the essence of government neutrality in matters of religion.”


Ronald A. Lindsay, the Center for Inquiry’s President and CEO, pointed out that there are already four members of the Court, who, if they obtained one more vote, would reverse more than 62 years of precedent and reinterpret the First Amendment to allow open discrimination against nonbelievers, as long as no branch of government betrayed any favoritism for one religion over any other.


“We therefore urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to carefully question Judge Sotomayor so they can determine her judicial philosophy on the Establishment Clause,” said Lindsay.

The Center for Inquiry/Transnational, a nonprofit, educational, advocacy, and scientific-research think tank based in Amherst, New York, is also home to the Council for Secular Humanism, founded in 1980; and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), founded in 1976. The Center for Inquiry’s research and educational projects focus on three broad areas: religion, ethics, and society; paranormal and fringe-science claims; and sound public policy. The Center’s Web site is


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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at