Coalition Letter in Opposition to the Nomination of Judge David Hamilton
The signatories below represent a coalition of organizations who in turn represent hundreds of thousands of Americans concerned about political activism in the judicial branch. We are writing to express our opposition to the nomination of Judge David Hamilton to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Judge Hamilton is the infamous judge who in 2005 ordered the Speaker of the Indiana House to immediately stop the practice of “sectarian prayers” at the opening of the legislative session because apparently the prayers were too Christian. “[T]hey should refrain from using Christ’s name or title,” he ordered (emphasis ours). Judge Hamilton later concluded that praying in the name of “Allah” would be perfectly fine.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, where he is to serve if President Obama has his way, eventually overturned his foolish decision.
Hamilton also issued a series of rulings over seven years that prevented the state of Indiana from enforcing its informed-consent law requiring abortionists to inform women about the risks of the abortion procedure. The law was identical to the Pennsylvania statute that the United States Supreme Court upheld in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Judge Hamilton, however, seems to have little concern for the law or precedent, and in a classic case of judicial activism, struck down the law, claiming it imposed an “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.
Again, his stubborn and dangerous ruling was reversed on appeal to the Seventh Circuit, where the court strongly criticized his decision, calling it an “abuse of discretion.”
Before any of these decisions as a district judge, Hamilton served as a board member of the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and as a fundraiser for the liberal activist group ACORN. He was later nominated by President Clinton to the district court, and the American Bar Association (ABA) rated Hamilton as “not qualified” at that time.
Judge Hamilton has done nothing to change that. Disregarding Supreme Court precedent when it comes to abortion and ignoring our clear and overwhelming history of religious liberty should not be rewarded with a promotion. Our Founders would have a hard time finding a more fundamental principle of liberty than that every man should be free to pray according to his beliefs.
No Senator in good conscience should vote for this nominee. Judge Hamilton has shown himself to be an activist judge who is all too willing to disregard the law in order to advance ideology. To prevent such a judge from ever being confirmed is the very purpose of the “advice and consent” process.
Concerned Women for America
Donald E. Wildmon,
Founder and Chairman
American Family Association
Senior Vice-President of Government and Public Policy
Focus on the Family
Senior Vice President
Family Research Council/FRCAction
Mathew D. Staver
Founder, Liberty Counsel
Dean, Liberty University School of Law
Liberty Alliance Action
Director of Cultural Affairs
Liberty Counsel/Liberty Alliance Action
1015 Fifteenth St. N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 488-7000
Fax: (202) 488-0806