Two Democratic senators have raised the ugly specter of anti-Catholic bigotry regarding the nomination of a Nebraska lawyer named Brian Buescher to the position of Federal District Court Judge in his home state.
I’ve researched Mr. Buescher’s background, and he appears to be a sound candidate for the position: honors graduate from the University of Nebraska, law degree from Georgetown University, a top tier law school, partner in a prominent Nebraska law firm, chairman of both the Agricultural and Environmental Committees of the Nebraska Bar Association, and a local state prosecutor. He is also endorsed by Nebraska’s Governor and both Senators.
Unfortunately, for two Democratic members of the Senate, he is also a member of an “extremist group” that goes by the name of the “Knights of Columbus,” which opposes abortion and supported Proposition 8, the successful California referendum that declared that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.
That proposition was ultimately overturned by the federal courts, but 52% of California voters were in favor of the “extremist” position, as were the two Democratic candidates for President that year, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The two senators in question are Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kamala Harris of California, both potential candidates for president in 2020, who have declared that Mr. Buescher should not be confirmed so long as he remains a member of the Knights of Columbus. Of course, this is just a smokescreen for the actual agenda—that no practicing Catholic should be appointed to any federal court regardless of whether he or she can put aside personal beliefs and still decide cases on the basis of judicial precedent.
Article VI, section 3 of our Constitution declares that: “no religious test shall ever be required to any office or public trust under the United States.”
As one who served as a federal appointee subject to Senate confirmation from 2002–2012, I strongly condemn these Senators’ blatantly unconstitutional attempts to inject religion into the Senate’s advise and consent function.\
Michael Duffy, Butte
(Duffy is a former Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.)