Friday, January 18, 2019

Senate Resolution Says "No Religious Test" Clause Bars Disqualification For K of C Membership

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 19 by unanimous consent.  The Resolution was introduced by Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse in response to questions raised in connection with last month's Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brian C. Buescher for a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. At that hearing, Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) questioned whether Buescher's membership in the Knights of Columbus would bias his consideration on issues such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. (Background). Resolution 19 after a lengthy Preamble, provides:
That it is the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to Federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates clause 3 of article VI of the Constitution of the United States, which establishes that Senators ‘‘shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support th[e] Constitution’’ and ‘‘no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States’’.
National Catholic Register reports on the Resolution.