December 25, 2018
Dems accused of ‘religious bigotry’ for questioning Trump court pick’s Knights of Columbus ties
Following questions from multiple Democratic senators over the impartiality of Trump judicial nominee Brian Buescher and his ties to the Knights of Columbus, a charitable Roman Catholic organization, Republicans and various religious leaders hit back Monday against "religious bigotry.”
"This isn’t just about the Knights of Columbus or Catholics, this is an ongoing attack from the extremist left of the Democratic Party to silence people of faith and run them out of engaging in public service based on their religious beliefs,” Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, a Christian women’s activist group, said in a written statement.
"It is pure and simple religious bigotry,” Nance added.
Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, recently raised concerns about Buescher's membership as part of the Senate Judiciary Committee's review of his nomination by President Trump to sit on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.
The Catholic News Agency (CNA) first reported news of their concerns.
In a series of questions sent to Buescher, Hirono asked whether his membership in the Knights of Columbus would prevent him from hearing cases "fairly and impartially” and, if confirmed, whether he would end his membership in the organization.
"The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” Hirono said in the questionnaire. "For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.”
Harris meantime, in her questions to the nominee, called the Knights of Columbus "an all-male society” and asked the Nebraska lawyer if he was aware that the group was anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage when he joined. The California senator also referenced Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson’s statement that abortion amounted to "the killing of the innocent on a massive scale” and asked Buescher if he agreed with the statement.
"The Knights of Columbus does not have the authority to take personal political positions on behalf of all of its approximately two million members,” Buescher wrote in reply to the queries. "If confirmed, I will apply all provisions of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges regarding recusal and disqualification.”
You sort of have to wonder why they ask those questions, because they know how the judge will respond. Well, I suppose they have to ask those questions to satisfy "their base." But it's nothing more than a dance where everybody knows the steps beforehand.
I'm sure the judge would love to say something on the order of "you're darn right I knew what it was all about, and of course I agree with them, that's why I joined them; I support their position, and as a judge I will be looking for every loophole in the law that supports it. And I'll be darned if I'll recuse myself. So there."
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