We were shocked by the reports that Sens. Kamala Harris (D – Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (D – Hawaii), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, while questioning a nominee for a federal district court judgeship, raised doubts about his impartiality because of his devout Roman Catholic faith and membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic service organization.
The senators both said that the group has taken several “extreme positions” on certain issues like gay rights and abortion and wanted to know whether the nominee would be able to be impartial if related matters came before him for decision. They wanted to know whether he knew of these “extreme positions” when he joined and whether he was prepared to withdraw his membership in the organization now that he was nominated for a federal judgeship.
As far as we can tell, there was nothing in his background that suggested that he would be anything but impartial and not a person with integrity.
This line of questioning is an outrage and hopefully Sen. Lindsay Graham, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will address it. But more importantly, it is incumbent upon Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Minority Leader in the Senate, to disavow this sort of thing as being beyond the pale. Unless, of course, he doesn’t think it is.