Senate Republicans Advance Federal Judge Nomination of Right Wing Blogger Who Joked About ‘F*ggots’

Republicans of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday pushed through the nomination of John K. Bush, an attorney and a former pseudonymous right wing blogger who once delivered a speech in which he joked about not wanting to appear like a “faggot.” Bush, who has been nominated by President Donald Trump to the the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, has made his very anti-gay views known. He also supported Trump’s fanatical birtherism. Thursday’s vote was 11-9.

Bush is married to a woman has helped raise a reported $14 million for the re-election campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Both men are from Kentucky. 

“For nearly a decade,” Quartz reported last month, Bush “contributed regularly to Elephants in the Bluegrass, a political blog run by his wife, under the pen name G. Morris. In posts, he drew a tenuous parallel between Barack Obama and Monica Lewinsky and equated slavery to abortion as two of America’s greatest tragedies.”

“While blogging,” Quartz’s Lola Fadulu reported, “he consistently cited WorldNetDaily, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed an extremist group for peddling conspiracy theories and white nationalism, including the lie that Obama was not born in the United States.”

Quoting a passage from Hunter S. Thompson’s The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, the Alliance for Justice notes, Bush thought it appropriate to say in a speech, “I come here every year, and let me tell you one thing I’ve learned—this is no town to be giving people the impression you’re some kind of faggot.” 

The AFJ also notes that “in a 2011 blog post, Bush criticized the State Department for modifying passport application forms to account for the possibility of same-sex parents in A Parent 2’s Outrage:

Henceforth, the application will ask for ‘Mother or Parent 1’ and ‘Father or Parent 2.’ I suppose that’s better than ‘Thing One’ or ‘Thing Two’, but Hillary’s hybrid hardly eliminates my confusion. . . . . It’s just like the government to decide it needs to decide something like which parent is number one or number two. When that happens, both parents are subservient to the nanny state— more precisely, a nanny Secretary of State.

The Human Rights Campaign notes Bush “has criticized rulings striking down sodomy laws targeting LGBTQ people,” and “doesn’t fully commit [to] Obergefell as settled law.”

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During his confirmation hearing in June, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) grilled Bush, saying he questioned his “judgment,” in the video below. “This man should not be a federal judge. He should not have a lifetime appointment. I’m done,” Franken concluded.

Franken asked Bush “about blog posts that cited alt-right reports containing conspiracy theories and false information, such as the claim that President Obama was not born in the U.S.,” NPR reported at the time.

“In a testy exchange, Franken pressed Bush on how he decided which sources to rely on for information, pointing to one source which Franken called a ‘white nationalism’ propaganda organ filled with ‘hate speech.'” That website is World Net Daily, or WND.

Bush dodged the question several times, until Franken asked bluntly if Bush “felt free to put posts out that cited sources that you knew were not credible.”

“No,” Bush replied. “I’m not saying that. I’m saying that as a blogger, I was making political statements.”

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana seemed unpersuaded.

“Mr. Bush, I’ve read your blogs,” Kennedy said as he stared at the nominee. “I’m not impressed.”

Bush’s nomination now heads to the full Senate, which will likely vote to confirm him. 

Some responses:

Law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent:

Law professor & vice dean at American University Washington College of Law:

 

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