I was flying back home the other night and found that on my flight from Dallas someone had left the A section of USA Today in the seat pocket.
Which is where I found this intriguing piece about the fact that in the Sonia Sotomayor (pictured here) confirmation hearings, the issue of church-state separation cases never really came up.
The more I thought about that the more I found it appalling. What were the senators thinking? I hope some of them find a way to dig into that matter before a final confirmation vote.
Church-state separation issues seem constantly to be in the courts, and quite often they show up for resolution in the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a constantly evolving area and it's important to know what prospective justices think about it.
This is all the more true of Sotomayor because, as this Religion News Service piece notes, she seems to be quite unpredictable in this area. Besides that. she doesn't have an extensive record of ruling on cases in this field. I'm certainly not proposing that the Senate use some kind of litmus test on this or any other controversial area but I do think it's worth having nominees to the highest court in the land talk about how they approach making decisions involving church-state separation disputes.
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A RUSSIAN RELIGION ACCOMMODATION
Speaking of church-state issues, Russia's president has just announced a pilot project that will give students there a choice of whether to take a class in religion or secular ethics. This is a fascinating follow-up to mandatory atheism, though it also looks like a major concession to the Russian Orthodox Church because the religion classes do not include options of other branches of Christianity. Let's keep an eye on where this goes in a year or two.