Why is it improper to screen a prospective judicial candidate over prospective decisions that must be viewed on the facts and circumstances of each particular case and not to the particular organizations a prospective judge may belong to?
For example, during a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing of Brian Buescher in Nov. 28, 2018, for a federal judgeship, Sen. Kamala Harris of California grilled Buescher about belonging to a Catholic organization, The Knights of Columbus, and whether he was “pro-life.” Harris referred to the Knights of Columbus as an “all-male society of Catholics.” Another senator, Mazie Hirono from Hawaii, asked Buescher if he was confirmed would he resign from the Knights.
Our First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees our free exercise of religion, freedom of association and freedom of speech, as does Article VI, which forbids a religious test for holding public office. See also Clause 3 of Article 6, which states that there is not to be a religious test for serving on the federal bench.
Do you think that either of these two senators votes because of their religious beliefs or organizations that they belong to? These two senators are examples of straight partisan politics, which demonstrates why that kind of thinking is a reflection of improper questioning.
Who cares if someone is Catholic, Muslim, Jew or Protestant? Should their participation in seeking any public office rest on a candidate’s own personal religious beliefs? If this were true, then no one would ever be nominated or appointed or elected to public office.
Senators like these two might just be “grandstanding.”