Palin Pick for VP Makes McCain Panderer-in-Chief [Press Release]


Contact Info:
Frederick Lane
Burlington, VT

BURLINGTON, VT — Senator John McCain’s selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin makes it clear that when it comes to critical social and political issues — including U.S. Supreme Court appointments, federal science policy, public education, and birth control — a McCain/Palin White House will be little more than a branch office of the hard-core Religious Right.

“As the steady stream of surprising revelations make clear,” said Vermont author Frederick Lane, “the only two things that John McCain and his staff knew for certain about Governor Palin is that she is a woman and a darling of the Religious Right, a constituency that McCain is desperate to energize for the upcoming presidential election.”

Lane’s most recent book, “The Court and the Cross: The Religious Right’s Crusade to Reshape the Supreme Court” (Beacon 2008), is a detailed look at the efforts of the Religious Right over the last thirty years to use its growing political power to influence the nomination and selection of judges to the federal bench. The book concludes with a review of various church-state issues that have come before the United States Supreme Court, including: governmental display of the Ten Commandments (an issue before the Court this coming fall), school prayer, creationism in school science classes, and of course, a woman’s right to privacy.

“Although the details of Governor Palin’s positions are still largely unknown,” Lane said, “the little information that is available makes it clear that the Governor belongs to the right wing of the Religious Right. She is on record as opposing all abortions except when the life of the mother in danger, she refused to fund anything except abstinence-only sex education in Alaska, she favors the teaching of creationism, opposes stem cell research, and not only opposes any benefits for same-sex couples but also supports a constitutional amendment to permanently bar gay and lesbian couples from ever receiving them. Collectively, this is a campaign platform that could easily have been drafted by James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.”

Senator John McCain, Lane said, has essentially promised the Religious Right that he will continue the Bush administration’s practice of selecting federal judicial nominees that meet with their approval. In a recent speech at Wake Forest University, Senator McCain told supporters that he is a strong admirer of Justices Roberts, Alito, and Rehnquist. Lane believes that future Supreme Court appointments will be a critical issue in the 2008 election. Currently, six of the nine justices (including the entire liberal wing of the Court) are over the age of 65: John Paul Stevens (88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (75), Antonin Scalia (72), Anthony Kennedy (72), Stephen Breyer (70), and David Souter (69 on Sept. 17).

In a May 18 posting entitled “The Petrification of John McCain,” Lane discussed Senator McCain’s speech on the judiciary at Wake Forest University and the implications for the separation of church and state if Senator McCain wins the November election. The full blog post can be read at the following URL:

“Although it is the President and not the Vice President who nominates justices,” Lane said, “Governor Palin’s close identification with the more extreme positions of the Religious Right — and Senator McCain’s patent pandering to evangelical Republicans — makes it clear that if they are elected, Religious Right groups like Focus on the Family, the American Center for Law and Justice, and the Family Research Council will continue to enjoy the enormous influence on the judicial nominating process that they’ve enjoyed during the eight years of the Bush administration.”

Lane’s previous books include: “The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture” (Prometheus Books 2006), which led to an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with John Stewart”; “The Naked Employee: How Technology Is Compromising Workplace Privacy” (Amacom 2003); and “Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Privacy in the Cyber Age” (Routledge 2000). In addition to “The Daily Show,” he has also appeared on a variety of other national television programs, including ABC’s “Good Morning America Weekend”; NBC’s “Weekend Today”; ABC’s “Nightline”; CBS’s “60 Minutes”; CNN’s “Glenn Beck Show” and “Newsroom”; and assorted CBC and BBC documentaries. Lane’s next book is entitled “People in Glass Houses: American Law, Technology, and the Right to Privacy,” and is scheduled for publication in spring 2009 by Beacon. Lane is a frequent contributor to Beacon Press’s blog, The Beacon Broadside (

Author Availability

Lane is a resident of Burlington, VT, and is available for interviews by phone, e-mail, or by remote feed from one of the many radio and television studios in the Burlington area. In addition, Lane will be in New York City on November 13 for a post-election lecture and booksigning at the All Souls Unitarian Church (83rd and Lexington), and will be available for in-person and on-camera interviews on the 13th and 14th.

Early Praise for The Court and the Cross

“Separation of church and state is so basic a part of American values and history that it is hard to realize it is under threat. But it is, profoundly. In The Court and the Cross Frederick Lane explains why: a relentless, determined and successful campaign by the Christian Right to put its supporters on the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court. It is a colorful and compelling book.” — Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon’s Trumpet and Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment.

The Court and the Cross is a commendable and sobering account of the scope and significance of the Christian Right’s incessant efforts to make a mockery of core constitutional principle. Not only does it elegantly review key Supreme Court cases about religion, but points to the extensive range of social issues the Right is working to get up for examination before our highest court, an increasingly conservative body. If you are not sure that the decisions of the Supreme Court ‘matter much’ to you in your daily life, read The Court and the Cross and I guarantee you’ll be rethinking that position. The Court’s erosion of your individual religious freedom and the dictates of your conscience has already begun.” — Rev. Barry Lynn, author of Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom and Executive Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

“In The Court and the Cross, Frederick S. Lane spotlights what ought to be one of the most critical issues in this election year: the religious right’s successful long-term effort to reshape the Supreme Court and the entire federal judiciary. With wit, legal erudition and political acumen, Lane explains exactly why the power to appoint federal judges with lifetime tenure may be a president’s most significant legacy and why liberals have been asleep at the switch while conservatives have had their way with the courts. This timely and disturbing book offers a much-needed wakeup call to all who cherish our Constitution and understand that the separation of church and state was America’s founding gift to its own citizens and the world.” — Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

“Nowhere has the religious right’s effort to remake America been more successful, or more poorly understood, than in its campaign to control the courts, a campaign rooted in a revisionist history that seeks to write secularism out of the nation’s past. Frederick Lane’s illuminating, important The Court and the Cross punctures the movement’s canards and deftly explains what’s at stake. Grounded in a fascinating history, this is compelling, crucial book.” — Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism


Frederick Lane

Caitlin Meyer
Beacon Press
25 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

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