by Scoobie Davis
Joe Conason on Bill Frist and the Sectarian Right
"Many of these nominees," [Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council] writes, "are being blocked because they are people of faith and moral conviction. These are people whose only offense is to say that abortion is wrong or that marriage should be between one man and one woman."
Clearly, Mr. Perkins has no compunctions about bearing false witness when that serves his political aims. As he well knows, the tiny percentage of blocked Bush nominees weren’t filibustered because of their religious faith, and the controversies surrounding them had little to do with abortion and nothing to do with gay marriage.
Consider Carolyn Kuhl of California, whose nomination was eventually withdrawn. Like many Bush nominees, she is a right-wing judicial activist who would seek to overturn most environmental and consumer protections in the name of property rights. During her stint in the Reagan Justice Department, Ms. Kuhl wrote a memo urging the government to reverse longstanding policy by renewing the federal tax exemption of the infamously bigoted Bob Jones University. As a judge in Los Angeles, she dismissed a lawsuit brought by a cancer patient whose doctor allowed her breast examination to be observed in his office—without her informed consent—by a drug-company salesman.
Or consider Priscilla Owen of Texas, a protégé of Bush political guru Karl Rove, whose decisions on the Texas Supreme Court tended to be most favorable to corporations that bankrolled her judicial campaigns, such as Enron and Dow Chemical. Alberto Gonzales, now serving as U.S. Attorney General, repeatedly criticized her extreme opinions when they were colleagues on the Texas Supreme Court.
These corporate servants in black robes were all too typical of the nominees sent up by the White House. It’s hard to understand how rejecting them offended any religious faith. And when Mr. Perkins implies that Democrats apply a religious test to the Bush nominees, he is lying about that, too.
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