Of the many strange and wondrous things we’ve seen develop in American politics during the Age of Trump, perhaps one of the most terrifying is the decision by Senate Democrats to adopt blatant, in-your-face religious tests for executive branch and judicial nominees. By that, I mean that actually living something like a Christian life is openly declared to be inimical to service in the federal bureaucracy or judiciary.
The first person to be hit with it was Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett. Who can forget this remarkable performance by Dianne “I didn’t know my chauffeur was a Chinese spy” Feinstein.
— Jason Calvi (@JasonCalvi) September 6, 2017
When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.
Or the aptly named Dick Durbin.
“Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”
Or Mazie Hirono (D-Mediocrity)
I think your article is very plain in your perspective about the role of religion for judges, and particularly with regard to Catholic judges.
When Brian Buescher was being considered for a circuit court position he faced similar questions from the fiercely heterosexual Cory Booker and from Hirono:
In written questions sent to Mr. Buescher by committee members Dec. 5, Sen. Hirono stated that “the Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions. For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.”
Hirono then asked Buescher if he would quit the group if he was confirmed “to avoid any appearance of bias.”
Dear Lord, the Knights of Columbus? The most offensive thing about the Knights of Columbus is the feathered hats.
Corey “No, really, I am actually heterosexual” Booker also had a noteworthy addition:
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) noted the nominee’s previously outspoken opposition to abortion and asked “why should a litigant in your courtroom expect to get a fair hearing from an impartial judge in a case involving abortion rights?”
Today, the target was Peter Phipps who is President Trump’s nominee to the Third Circuit. The Democrats already have their panties wadded over Phipps. He was just elevated to the federal bench last year and Democrat Senator Bob Casey objected to his nomination to the Third Circuit. With that as the backdrop, this is how it started:
“Judge Phipps, welcome back. I’m going to ask you a hard question. Are you now or have you ever been involved in the organization of a fish fry.”
For the rest, I’ll rely on the Free Beacon’s Nic Rowan.
Sasse’s joke referred to the Knights’s practice of throwing fish fries for Catholic churches on Fridays during Lent, a liturgical time of the year where Catholics typically abstain from meat. It is one of the many charitable actions in which the organization participates, including providing community service and charity drives for children. Phipps, like other judicial candidates before him, has faced scrutiny for his involvement in the organization from Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and other Senate Democrats, who allege the organization is “extreme.”
Sasse used his question time at the hearing to sarcastically fillet Phipps for his Knights membership.
“So it’s much more the stuff of community service, love of neighbor, fish frys, and pool parties than some sort of Da Vinci Code stuff?” Sasse asked. “I just want to be clear that I understand this scary organization that you’re a member of.”
“That’s exactly right,” Phipps said. “It’s a charitable organization, it’s an organization that has social and recreational activities that many members of my family have really enjoyed and really benefited from.”
Phipps explained the history and work of the Knights, and Sasse warned Senate Democrats to reconsider the “new tradition” of attempting to impose religious tests on members of religious organizations like the Knights of Columbus. “We should ask them about their oath of office to the Constitution, and whether or not they can do that free from bias,” Sasse said.
One member of the Judiciary Committee, however, did not understand Sasse’s joke. After the Nebraska Senator finished his questions, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) told Sasse that he “hates” to hear Sasse suggesting that there be a religious test on the Knights.
“What is Da Vinci? I don’t understand it,” he said. “And I’m a little bit annoyed as a member of the KofC.”
Kamala Harris showed the deleterious intellectual effects of sleeping with Willie Brown when she asked Phipps if he had to “”swear an oath” of allegiance to the Knights of Columbus. It was nearly like she was trying to use the old “dual loyalties” slur that has been directed an American Jews since the founding of Israel and Catholics forever but wasn’t really sure how to tie that to a civic organization.
This is an exceedingly sad state of affairs. It shows that the left is unwilling to be bound even by the rules that govern our Republic, much less by any sense of decency. It demonstrates why the Vichy Republicans, the accommodationists with the secular liberal state, are just as much a part of the problem as is Kamala Harris or Mazie Hirono. Phipps will be confirmed. And Sasse got a good dig in on the behavior of the left. But let’s no fool ourselves into thinking that they can be shamed in to acting as though they were American citizens. They can’t.