John Bush, the Little Rock-born Louisville lawyer and conservative blogger nominated for a federal judgeship by Donald Trump, had a rough time at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination.
From Think Progress on the hearing today:
Here’s a pro tip. If you are a judicial nominee, and you have to spend much of your confirmation hearing denying that you endorsed birtherism, maybe “judge” isn’t the ideal job for you.
…Birtherism came up after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) noted a blog post where Bush relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for touting conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama. In the post — which bears the grammatically-dubious title “‘Brother’s Keeper’ — As In, Keep That Anti-Obama Reporter In Jail!” — Bush touted a World Net Daily story claiming that one of the publication’s reporters was being held by immigration officials in Kenya after the reporter went there to investigate Obama’s Kenyan half-brother.
The post implied, without explicitly stating, that then-Sen. Barack Obama bore some responsibility for this reporter being detained. In any event, Bush felt that he needed to distance himself from the birther website he once cited, telling Franken that “I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group, as far as birtherism goes,” when he wrote this particular blog post.
Questionable citations aside, many of Bush’s other blog posts stated much more directly how the judicial nominee views the world. In one post in particular, for example, Bush claimed that “the two greatest tragedies in our country” are “slavery and abortion.”
After Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Bush if he still held this view, Bush attempted to paint his views on Roe v. Wade as relatively innocuous. “I believe that [Roe] is a tragedy,” he said, “in the sense that it divided our country.”
Later in the hearing, however, Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history.
“Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer.
“I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”
Whew. This from a nominal legal scholar from LITTLE ROCK, where the division was so evident three years after Brown that troops were called in! But Bush was a graduate of McClellan, not Central, so there’s that.
Only a break among Republicans will sink Bush. But there was this glimmer of hope:
“I’ve read your blogs,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told Bush. “I’m not impressed.”
Lots more provided by Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney for Judging the Environment.
The Alliance for Justice noted another Republican senator with concerns about Bush for a wishy-washy answer on whether he could be impartial. He also apologized for use of a gay slur in a speech if not other anti-LGBT actions.
In another Arkansas angle, the Alliance notes another problem nominee by Trump, Damien Schiff to the federal court of claims. He’s another homophobe based on public record who called Justice Anthony Kennedy a judicial “prostitute.” The local angle is that Sen. Tom Cotton was a one-man wrecking crew for all five appointments Obama tried to make to the overworked court of claims. Cotton contended no slots needed to be filled. Now that there’s a homophobic nut case on offer, will Cotton still block presidential appointments to the court?