November 28, 2003

Liberal Senators Nix Christian Judges
by Donald G. Mashburn

After last fall’s midterm elections, the nation had reason to hope that Republicans could get men and women of high personal integrity approved for federal judgeships. Unfortunately, Republican senators have been stymied in moving the nominations of some high caliber men and women who have no allegiance to special interests groups.

The major opposition has come from liberal Democrats, who appear to be biased against judicial candidates who hold to Christian beliefs, or to values rooted in Christian teachings. Being Christian and conservative is a particularly bad combination.

Democrats don’t telegraph their anti-religious bias. Rather, they hide it in vague claims that judicial candidates weren’t “forthcoming,” or “We don’t know enough about his true beliefs.” Hypocrisy is still plentiful in the U.S. Senate.

Democrats’ devotion to liberal causes – including abortion rights, gay rights, and laws favoring special interests – has led Democrats to filibuster some of the strongest candidates ever sent to the Senate.

By all sensible measures, Miguel Estrada should have been a shoo-in: Hispanic, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, service as a clerk to a Supreme Court justice and as a federal prosecutor.

As assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, Estrada has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. The American Bar Association gave him its highest rating.

But with all this, Senate liberals thought Estrada should not even be allowed a vote by the full Senate. They claimed they didn’t know enough about “his true beliefs,” and claimed he wasn’t “forthcoming” enough for them.

But enough of Estrada’s beliefs were evident for Senate lefties to think he might not support their liberal agenda. The combination of Estrada being Catholic, Hispanic, and conservative was just too much for liberals, who long ago concluded he wasn’t ideologically correct enough on abortion.

President Bush, in withdrawing his nomination of Estrada to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said that Estrada “received disgraceful treatment” from Democrats.

Estrada could have been an excellent addition to the federal bench. In a nation where the Hispanic population is growing faster than any other group, it seems only fair that capable Hispanics not be excluded from judgeships. Unfortunately, liberal Democrats in the Senate appear to like minorities only when they parrot the liberal line.

Miguel Estrada was too much his own man, and a man of too strong convictions to suit the agenda-driven Senate liberals.

Then there is the case of Alabama Attorney General William H. Pryor, President Bush’s nominee to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals.

Pryor, in his appearances before the Senate Judiciary Committee, was treated in a hostile manner that showed just how ugly liberals are prepared to be to keep conservative Christians off the federal bench.

Pryor flummoxed his senate interrogators with honest and straightforward answers. But in addition to his honest and open opposition to abortion, Pryor shared at least two of Estrada’s “handicaps” by being also Catholic and conservative.

Pryor’s hostile reception from Democrats led some Pryor supporters to print advertisements charging that, with liberals in the Senate, “Catholics need not apply.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said, “I’m concerned that we are reaching a point that where a judicial nominee with deeply held religious views may ...[not] serve as a federal judge.”

In their opposition to President Bush’s judicial nominees, liberal Democrats have shown they’re not above opposing judicial candidates that hold Christian beliefs, defend religious liberty, or refuse to be liberal pawns on racial and social issues.

Democratic senators Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy, and Charles Schumer have behaved shamefully in opposing federal judge nominees. Their unrelenting opposition to nominees of impeccable character and qualifications is disgraceful, and is damaging to the nation’s future.

Republicans haven’t come up with a way to protect the country from this Malicious Minority. Only the voters can do that, but in places like New York and Massachusetts, they don’t seem to be paying attention.