Statement by Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, Esq., Founder and Chairman of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
In recent years over the debate over whether we have a living Constitution, this debate has been settled – we have a living Constitution. Her name is Sandra Day O’Connor and thank God she’s retiring.
Her approach to religion law questions made everything a matter of what an imaginary, objective observer would think. But there is no way to know what this imaginary person would think, so Justice O’Connor imagined. That made everything a matter of her subjective judgment and that’s not why we have a Constitution. She was well intentioned, but she was slowly but surely reinventing monarchy.
(In response to the future of the Court)
It all depends on who replaces her; Justice O’Connor was one of two swing votes on the Court. Sometimes she voted with the hardcore secularists who banished religion from public life; sometimes she voted with the conservative wing to uphold the tradition of religion in public culture.
What this will mean almost for certain is clarity. Whether that’s hard left or hard right clarity, or a centrist clarity, all depends up on her successor. Right, left or center, the law itself will be clearer, and that itself is a good thing.