No place for bigotry on the bench

Sen. Sherrod Brown - Contributing Columnist

This week, I took to the Senate Floor to shine a light on the president’s nominee to join the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, John K. Bush. This man has a clear record of promoting bigotry and discrimination that has no place in our courts, and we cannot let this nomination slip through the cracks.

Mr. Bush advocated to the U.S. Supreme Court that women should be barred from attending our military institutions.

This wasn’t in the 1890s, or the 1950s — it was in the 1990s.

To this day, he’s still a member of an organization that doesn’t allow women to join, and he’s been a member of groups that have a history of barring Jews and African Americans.

Bush regularly contributed to a conservative blog using a fake name, advocating extreme political views on everything from women’s right to make their own personal, private healthcare decisions, to climate change. He even cited white supremacist sources that pushed the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States.

And in a 2005 public speech, he cavalierly repeated a hateful homophobic slur.

Mr. Bush is entitled to his political opinions, not matter how offensive we may find them. But those opinions have no place in a federal court. In his confirmation hearing, he said he believed judicial impartiality is just an “aspiration.” He doesn’t think he needs to be an impartial judge — he just needs to be able to say he tried.

Well I’ve got news for Mr. Bush: Judicial impartiality is a principle of democracy. It’s the reason that African Americans and women can vote, that segregation is part of the past, and that marriage equality is part of the future.

Think about this: the Obergefell v. Hodges decision guaranteeing the right to marriage equality came out of the Southern District of Ohio — and was initially appealed to the 6th Circuit. Imagine if this man who boldly repeated homophobic slurs had heard the Obergefell appeal.

We cannot allow the bar to be lowered for what is considered acceptable behavior by members of the federal bench.

Sen. Sherrod Brown

Contributing Columnist

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