Sunday, February 10, 2008

District Court Nominee's Religious Views Generate Opposition

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of attorney Richard H. Honaker to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. Americans United is urging the committee to reject the nomination because of Honaker's extreme views on religious liberty. (Press release, Feb. 7). In a Jan. 31 letter (full text), AU says:

Mr. Honaker rejects the well-settled principle of neutrality in Establishment Clause cases.... He chastises the "nation’s highest court ... [for] hav[ing] moved radically away from a Christian base, toward a secular base in which man, not God, is the creator of values, of rights, of law, and of justice." He further criticizes the Supreme Court because it "no longer talks about America as a Christian nation or about the Christian underpinnings of the law."... [S]uch statements imply that he will not look to the United States Constitution and federal statutes to resolve cases but instead will look to his understanding of God’s law.

... Honaker has shown a bias against non-Judeo-Christian faiths in his public speeches.... He argued that the Islamic faith should not have been recognized by the President in his inaugural address, as Islam has "played no role" in American freedoms.... Freedom, according to Honaker, is not only unattainable for non-Christian societies, but non-Christians in a democratic society may be a threat to that free society.

On Friday, the Billings (MT) Gazette reported that a number of groups also oppose Honaker's nomination because of his anti-abortion views. Honaker is past president of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association and of the Wyoming State Bar.