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Supreme Court of the United States

3 Times Judicial Nominees Were Attacked for Their Faith—And Why That’s a Problem

October 16, 2020

Can a person of faith still serve as a faithful judge? It seems that some of our government officials don’t think so.

Here are just a few examples. 

1. Senator Kamala Harris’ attacks on judicial nominee Brian Buescher. 

When Buescher was nominated as a U.S. district court judge, Senator Harris attacked him for his involvement in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization with millions of members. The organization holds to Catholic doctrine on the sanctity of life and marriage. Senator Harris described these views as “extreme” and voted to reject Buescher’s appointment as a judge.

2. Senator Cory Booker’s attacks on judicial nominee Neomi Rao.

During Judge Rao’s confirmation hearing, Senator Booker questioned her ability to impartially apply the law if she supported her faith’s teaching on marriage. Ultimately, Senator Booker voted to reject Rao’s appointment as a judge. 

3. Senator Diane Feinstein’s attacks on judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett. 

When Amy Coney Barrett was first nominated for a federal judgeship in 2017, Senator Feinstein took issue with her devout Catholic faith, stating: “The dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.” She, too, voted to reject Barrett’s appointment as a judge. 

Their position is clear: these senators will not permit certain people of faith to serve our nation unless those people bow to the senators’ political ideology. And they will impose a religious test to stop anyone who disagrees with them from joining the bench.

For a nation that was founded on the promises that we are all created equal and endowed with God-given rights, this is a huge problem. In America, public officeholders, including judges, should never be disqualified because of their faith. Listen to ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner explain why:


Our Constitution protects religious freedom for every American. It also requires that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” 

Yet, this seems to be happening with increasing regularity. 

We must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Let’s be a nation that measures judges by their experience, not their religious beliefs. Let’s never tell someone they are disqualified for public service because of their faith. And let’s work together to fulfill our Constitution’s promise of true freedom and equality for all.

To learn more about how Alliance Defending Freedom is working to uphold the right of all people to peacefully live and work according to their beliefs, sign up for our newsletter.


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