Through e-mail, mass mailings, meetings and one-on-one discussions, prominent conservatives say they fear a Democratic president -- particularly Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. -- would appoint federal judges who would remove references to God and religion from public places, The Washington Times reported Wednesday.
McCain, R-Ariz., said he favors judges such as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both with conservative pedigrees.
Conservatives said judicial appointments are so important they would set aside differences with McCain on other issues, such as campaign funding limits, immigration and opposition to President George Bush's major tax-cut packages, the Times reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union "has been on a national rampage to remove God from every public place ...," said Phyllis Schlafly, head of the Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group meeting Tuesday in Washington.
Peter J. Ferrara, an aide to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, told the Times that Obama is "is swimming in a sea of left-wing extremism ... ."
Jeremy Gunn, ACLU freedom of religion and beliefs director, said Schlafly and others are playing up ambiguity surrounding the word "public."