Senate Democrats, this time in the person of Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), have once again demonstrated their hostility to any faith that does not toe the progressive line du jour.
Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
Despite the 45-year-old Indian-American’s “sterling qualifications” for the post, from her education to her years in private practice and government, she was already being attacked by the Left, “not … for her faults, but for her virtues,” wrote National Review’s Jeremy Carl. “Left-wing organizations such as People for the American Way accused Rao of having a ‘dangerously reactionary view of the Constitution,’ while the hyperventilating NAACP called her nomination ‘an insult to all Americans,’ inventing a nonexistent history of Rao’s supposed ‘years of vile comments against our most vulnerable communities’ that seemed to focus particularly on Rao’s opposition to affirmative action and other race-based preferences.”
The next logical step, therefore, was to smear Rao as a bigot — and, furthermore, one who bases her bigotry on religion. When given the opportunity to speak, Booker, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination next year, made sure to burnish his credentials with the party’s progressive base.
Referring to a 2008 article in which Rao criticized the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision that invalidated all state laws prohibiting sodomy, Booker asked Rao, “Are gay relationships, in your opinion, immoral?”
“I’m not sure the relevance of that,” Rao replied.
“I think it is relevant to your opinion,” Booker said. “Do you think African-American relationships are immoral? Do you think gay relationships are immoral?”
“No, I do not,” answered Rao.
“Do you believe they are a sin?” inquired Booker.
Rao tried to explain that whatever her personal views on such relationships were, she would adhere to precedent as a judge, but Booker interrupted her, changing the subject from homosexual relationships to same-sex “marriage”: “So you’re not willing to say here whether you believe it is sinful for two men to be married — you’re not willing to comment on that?”
After a bit more back and forth, Rao said, “My response is that these personal views are ones that I would put to one side. Whatever my personal views are on the subject, I would faithfully follow the precedent of the Supreme Court.”
Later, Booker grilled Rao on the Trump administration’s alleged attempts “to roll back transgender right protections and the like.” He asked Rao if she had ever employed “an LGBTQ” person.
“To be honest,” Rao responded, “I don’t know the sexual orientation of my staff. I take people as they come. Irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, I treat people as individuals. Those are the values that I grew up with and those are the values I would apply if confirmed.”
After Booker had finished grandstanding, it was Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) turn to speak.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee should not be a theater for twisting nominees’ records or views, nor should it be an avenue for persecution,” Cruz said. “We have seen a growing pattern among Senate Democrats of hostility to religious faith. I was deeply troubled a few minutes ago to hear questioning of a nominee asking your personal views on what is sinful. In my view that has no business in this committee.”
Referring to Democrats’ assaults on other Trump judicial nominees such as Amy Coney Barrett and Brian Buescher, Cruz added, “We have also seen Senate Democrats attack what they’ve characterized as religious dogma. We have seen Senate Democrats attack nominees for their own personal views on salvation.”
After pointing out that the Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office, Cruz declared, “I don’t believe this is a theological court of inquisition. I think the proper avenue for investigation of this committee is a nominee’s record.”
Democrats know they can’t defeat Rao’s nomination on her record, especially with Republicans holding a majority in the Senate. Perhaps they think they can frighten enough Republicans into voting against Rao to sink her nomination. Failing that, observed NBC News, “they could do enough damage to prevent her from ever being nominated to the Supreme Court.”
Photo of Cory Booker: senate.gov