August 18, 2010 6:16 PM
Ted Olson Joins NYC Mosque Debate
Posted by Brian Baxter
We didn't see a reason to get into the controversy over the construction of a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. But we've learned that an esteemed Am Law 100 lawyer--one who's been in the news quite a bit lately--has expressed an opinion on the matter, one worth sharing.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher appellate star Theodore Olson--fresh off his and David Boies's success in striking down a gay marriage ban in California--weighed in on the topic Wednesday on MSNBC. (Hat tip to Talking Points Memo.) The former solicitor general, who is known for his conservative beliefs, told reporter Andrea Mitchell that he agrees with President Obama's support of the mosque at Park51, a development also known as Cordoba House.
"Well, it may not make me popular with some people, but I think probably the President was right about this," Olson said. "I do believe that people of all religions have a right to build edifices, or structures, or places of religious worship or study, where the community allows them to do it under zoning laws and that sort of thing . . . we don't want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith."
Olson lost a loved one in the 9/11 attacks. His late wife Barbara, a conservative commentator, was a passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon that day. At the time of her death, Barbara Olson was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Alabama firm Balch & Bingham, according to a posthumous profile of her from The Washington Post. (Olson has since remarried to a former practicing lawyer.)
In the MSNBC interview, Olson said he doesn't think the debate over the mosque should be made into a political issue.
"It shouldn't be a Republican or Democratic issue, either," he added. "I believe Gov. Christie from New Jersey said it well--that this should not be in that political, partisan marketplace."
Click on the window below to view a clip of Olson's interview with Mitchell, courtesy of Talking Points Memo.
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