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Senate Dems Launch Another Inquisition Against Catholic Trump Nominee

Last month, Sen.s Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) attempted to apply a religious test against a Trump judicial nominee, Nebraska lawyer Brian C. Buescher. Harris and Hirono noted that Buescher is a member of the Roman Catholic charity the Knights of Columbus (KOC), which opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. Their suggestion that Buescher's membership in this "extreme" organization disqualifies him from service is arguably a "religious test" and a modern version of anti-Catholic bigotry.

"There have been times in our country’s past when uninformed or prejudiced people questioned whether Catholics could be good citizens or honest public servants," and many thought them "unfit for public office," KOC Supreme Knight Carl Anderson wrote in a letter on Tuesday. "Sadly, it seems that in some quarters, this prejudice remains."

In written questions for the record that Buescher answered on December 5, 2018, Hirono asked six questions regarding KOC and Harris asked ten.

Harris noted that Buescher had been a KOC member since 1993, and that the organization opposes abortion. "Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman's right to choose when you joined the organization?" she asked. "Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women's reproductive rights?"

Similarly, Harris noted that KOC spent $1 million to support Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative defining marriage as between one man and one woman. "Where you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?" she demanded. "Do you believe the right to marry carries an implicit guarantee that everyone should be able to exercise that right equally?"

While Buescher is pro-life and ostensibly supports traditional marriage, he pledged that as a federal judge he would faithfully apply all U.S. laws and Supreme Court decisions, including Roe v. Wade (1973) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).

Both Hirono's description of KOC as "extreme" and Harris' suggestion that Buescher is bigoted in opposing "women's reproductive rights" and "marriage equality"  branded the the nominee as inherently biased and unworthy of the public trust in legal cases.

Since these suggestions surrounded mainstream positions of Roman Catholic doctrine, their questions arguably violate Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Catholic opposition to the progressive orthodoxy of abortion and same-sex marriage has revived America's historic bigotry against Roman Catholicism, and expanded that bigotry to all conservative Christians (not to mention Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and many other believers and non-believers who hold such positions in good conscience).

Ironically, Harris and Hirono brought these charges against Buescher by pointing to the Knights of Columbus, an organization that bravely defended minorities since the early 1900s, fought hard against the Ku Klux Klan, and even boasted President John F. Kennedy as a member.