Brian C. Buescher, is a Nebraskan He is a lawyer. He has been nominated by President Trump as a Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.
He is also a practicing Catholic, and a member of the Knights of Columbus – a Catholic-based religious charitable/service organization.
As you may be aware, during Mr. Bueschler’s Senate Judiciary hearing earlier this month, two Democrat members of the committee – Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) – questioned him on whether his Catholicism would result in rulings based on religious grounds rather than on the laws as written…and whether it would be a good idea for him to resign from the Knights of Columbus on the grounds that it would “avoid any appearance of bias”.
Are those fair questions?
Let’s start with the answer. Yes they are. Every one of them. We have a right to know if a potential judge’s personal beliefs will alter, or supercede, his/her application of the law.
But they are also fair questions to ask of a member of every other religion. Or political/social/activist group.
So the issue is not exclusively whether Mr. Bueschler – or, for that matter Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a possible Supreme Court nominee who was subjected to the same kinds of scrutiny last year by, among others, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) – should be asked such questions.
The issue is whether the same kinds of questions are asked of judicial candidates who subscribe to other faiths and beliefs as well.
If they are, then this is nothing more than standard operating procedure. All fine and well.
If they are not, then this is the singling out of Catholics, based specifically in their faith. And that is not fine or well. Not one little bit.
Which is it, Senator Hirono? Senator Harris? Senator Feinstein? How about an honest answer?
And, if the answer is that you are, in fact, specifically singling out Catholics and not others, how about an explanation of why.