Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) published a scathing condemnation of her fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, one of whom just happens to be a senator from her own home state of Hawaii. In an op-ed for The Hill, Gabbard harshly criticized (without naming) Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for their bigoted questions during the confirmation hearings of a federal judicial nominee.
The behavior of Harris and Hirono (among others) in those hearings has already come under harsh scrutiny from conservatives and Catholic groups around the country. By grilling nominee Brian Buescher for his faith and his membership in the Catholic organization Knights of Columbus, the Democrats have opened themselves up to charges of religious bigotry – charges which have, until now, mostly originated from the right. However, with Gabbard’s op-ed on Wednesday, the fight has now become an intra-party fireworks show.
“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,” Gabbard wrote. “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. We must call this out for what it is – religious bigotry. Elected leaders engaging in religion-baiting are playing with fire.”
In response to the op-ed, Sen. Hirono’s office released the following statement:
Senator Hirono, asks all judicial nominees – particularly those who have expressed very strong personal ideological views in conflict with Supreme Court precedent – if they can be fair. She asked Mr. Buescher, who has a clear record of anti-choice activism, whether he could separate his personal beliefs from decisions he would make if confirmed for a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. Over the past two years, the Senator has been attacked by right wing ideologues for her examination of Donald Trump’s ideologically-driven nominees to the courts. It is unfortunate that Congresswoman Gabbard based her misguided opinion on the far-right wing manipulation of these straightforward questions.
This kind of statement will probably be more than enough for the pro-abortion zealots who make up the majority of the Democratic Party and their allies in the media, but it hardly puts to bed the disturbing implications behind Hirono’s confirmation questions. Hirono would have had no problem with this nominee had he come to the hearing with a “clear record of pro-choice activism.” Therefore, we know that this is less about religion and more about abortion. The problem is when Democrat senators get the two confused and start to believe that our courts should be filled with, well, the same kinds of “Christians” who make up the Democratic Party in Washington.