John K. Bush, one of Trump’s federal judicial nominees, found himself in the position of having defend previous blog posts, which cited heavily from WorldNetDaily, the batshit christian conservative’s “news” source. Bush is a profound birther, and rabidly anti-choice. In spite of all this, he will most likely end up confirmed, unless some rethuglicans root around and find both a brain and a conscience.
Given Bush’s prolific history as a political blogger, those opinions were on full display during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Birtherism came up after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) noted a blog post where Bush relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for touting conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama. In the post — which bears the grammatically-dubious title “‘Brother’s Keeper’ — As In, Keep That Anti-Obama Reporter In Jail!” — Bush touted a World Net Daily story claiming that one of the publication’s reporters was being held by immigration officials in Kenya after the reporter went there to investigate Obama’s Kenyan half-brother.
In any event, Bush felt that he needed to distance himself from the birther website he once cited, telling Franken that “I was certainly not intending to endorse any views of another group, as far as birtherism goes,” when he wrote this particular blog post.
Questionable citations aside, many of Bush’s other blog posts stated much more directly how the judicial nominee views the world. In one post in particular, for example, Bush claimed that “the two greatest tragedies in our country” are “slavery and abortion.”
After Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Bush if he still held this view, Bush attempted to paint his views on Roe v. Wade as relatively innocuous. “I believe that [Roe] is a tragedy,” he said, “in the sense that it divided our country.”
Later in the hearing, however, Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history.
“Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer.
“I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”
Well. There’s a heaping dose of flaming stupid. I didn’t exist at the time of Brown either, but I’m certainly aware of it, and aware of the massive divisiveness it caused, ripples of which abound to this day. You would have to be somewhere in the realm of complete dedication to ignorance to claim unawareness in this regard, especially if your career in life is that of a fucking judge. Fucking Idiot does not even begin to cover this.
In fairness, Bush’s ignorance of American civil rights history, while certainly not an optimal trait in a judge, might not prevent him from performing the core responsibilities of an appellate jurist. Typically, judges spend far more time parsing statutory language and consulting legal precedents than they do digging into political history.
But Bush is not like most people named to the federal bench. In a 2009 panel hosted by the conservative Federalist Society — an organization which has played a major role in selecting Trump’s judicial nominees — Bush aligned himself with originalism, the belief that the only valid way to interpret the Constitution is to apply its text in the way those words were originally understood at the time they were drafted.
Whatever the virtues or demerits of originalism as an interpretive method, it only works if the judges applying it have a deep command of history and the skills necessary to sort good historical arguments from bad ones. After all, how can someone figure out the original meaning of a text if they don’t understand the historical and political context that brought that text into being?
The fact that Bush knows so little about one of the most famous judicial decisions in American history does not suggest that he is up to this task.
I’d say that’s quite the understatement. The reality? Bush is yet another toady who will do whatever the Tiny Tyrant wants, regardless of law.