The U.S. Senate passed a resolution rebuking two Democrat Senators for their critical questioning of a judicial nominee's Knights of Columbus membership.
Senators approved without objection on Wednesday Senate Resolution 19, which was introduced by Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
The resolution stated that “disqualifying a nominee to Federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates the Constitution of the United States.”
More specifically, the resolution says that Article VI, clause 3, was violated, which reads, "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
“… the Knights have a proud tradition of standing against the forces of prejudice and oppression, such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Germany,” continued S.R. 19.
“… the Knights are founded on the principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism [and] in 2017, the Knights made more than $185,000.000 in charitable contributions and volunteered more than 75,600,000 service hours.”
In a Wednesday evening speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Sasse explained that he introduced the resolution on behalf of fellow Nebraskan Brian Buescher, who was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the U.S. District Judge for the District of Nebraska.
Senators Kamala Harris of California and Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii sent him written questions expressing concern over Buescher’s membership with the Knights due to the Catholic organization’s socially conservative views.
“Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?” Sen. Kamala asked. “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?”
“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions. For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage,” inquired Hirono. “If confirmed, do you intend to end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias?”
“This is nuts,” stated Sasse. “We're talking about the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the world being called an extremist organization and a nominee for the federal bench being asked if he would resign from this organization so that he could serve without the appearance of bias.”
“This is the same kind of garbage that was thrown at a member of this body, John F. Kennedy, 60 years ago when he was campaigning for the presidency.”
Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is running for president, also denounced the treatment of Buescher in an opinion column published earlier this month by The Hill.
“While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher’s Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus,” wrote Gabbard.
“The party that worked so hard to convince people that Catholics and Knights of Columbus like Al Smith and John F. Kennedy could be both good Catholics and good public servants shows an alarming disregard of its own history in making such attacks today.”