Following are excerpts of remarks delivered by U.S. Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) December 5 on the Senate
floor regarding nominations and religious freedom:
I want to take a moment to help clarify why I and millions of
other Americans care so much about having federal judges who
believe in the radical notion that words matter and that a judge's
job is to follow the law and the Constitution.
Take, for one example, the subject of religious freedom.
The liberty of conscience and the freedom to live out our faiths
has been a foundational principle from the Republic's earliest
days. Many of the first Europeans who arrived in the New World came
here fleeing religious persecution.
In the last several years, some of our Democratic colleagues
have tried literally to impose religious tests on nominees for
federal office. Just take the No Religious Test Clause and the
First Amendment and throw them right out the window.
Judge Brian Buescher, now a district judge in Nebraska, was
attacked by two Democrats on the Judiciary Committee for being a
faithful Catholic and a member of the mainstream, worldwide
Catholic group, the Knights of Columbus. In written questions, one
senator called standard Catholic teachings "extreme
positions" and asked if he'd dial down his personal faith
practice if confirmed. As our colleague Senator Sasse observed at
the time, Democrats were transparently implying that "Brian's
religious beliefs, and his affiliation with this Catholic,
religious, fraternal organization, might make him unfit for
service& [it's] plainly unconstitutional."
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, now a circuit judge on the Seventh
Circuit, was likewise subjected to a religious test during a
confirmation hearing. One Democrat senator literally asked: "Do
you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?" Another offered
this bizarre and ominous remark: "The dogma lives loudly within
you, and that's a concern."
So, look- these warning signs on religious freedom are popping
up everywhere the modern political left rears its head.
Religious freedom in America has never meant, and will never
mean, solely the freedom to worship privately. It has never meant,
and will never mean, the ability to practice only a subset of
faiths acceptable to some subset of politicians. It means the right
to live your life according to the dictates of your faith and
conscience - free from government coercion.
If those statements strike anybody in this chamber as remotely
controversial, that is exactly why
President Trump, Senate Republicans, and millions of Americans are
focused on confirming federal judges who will apply our
Constitution as it was originally understood.