Senate Judiciary Democrats are once again facing criticism for their treatment of a judicial nominee. However this time it comes from an unexpected source, the Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii. She wrote:
While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher’s Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus. If Buescher is “unqualified” because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then President John F. Kennedy, and the 'liberal lion of the Senate' Ted Kennedy would have been “unqualified” for the same reasons.
Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that there "shall be no religious test" for any seeking to serve in public office.
No American should be told that his or her public service is unwelcome because “the dogma lives loudly within you” as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said to Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearings in 2017 to serve as U.S. Circuit Court judge in the 7th Circuit.
Kudos to Congresswoman Gabbard for standing up to religious bigotry. While we disagree and think Brian Buescher should be confirmed, we agree with Congresswoman Gabbard that religion is never a reason to oppose a nominee. Unfortunately, a number of Senate Judiciary Democrats have opposed nominees for reasons that amount to religious bigotry. As Gabbard concludes:
We must call this out for what it is – religious bigotry. This is true not just when such prejudice is anti-Catholic, but also when it is anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Hindu, or anti-Protestant, or any other religion.
In politics or at home, we Americans can disagree with and oppose people if we are concerned about their views, opinions, or their commitment to uphold their constitutional duties. However, we must not claim or imply that an individual is not qualified because of their religion or their membership in a particular religious organization, or their belief in the tenets of their faith.
Thank you, Congresswoman Gabbard.