WASHINGTON ― The Senate voted Thursday to put judge John Bush on a seat on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, despite Bush’s questionable past statements about abortion, slavery, climate change, health care and Nancy Pelosi.
Every Republican voted to confirm Bush, except for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who was absent. Every Democrat voted against him, except Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) who abstained. It’s a lifetime post.
Bush, a 52-year-old Kentucky lawyer, has drawn fire for comments he made on a blog he maintained for years under a pseudonym, G. Morris. Amid his hundreds of posts, Bush compared abortion to slavery, calling them “the two greatest tragedies in our country.” He called for gagging then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, applauded critics of same-sex marriage, mocked climate change and celebrated “the witch is dead” when he thought the Affordable Care Act might not be enacted.
He also perpetuated racist theories about President Barack Obama being born in Kenya. In 2008, he repeated Birther claims made by World Daily Net, a conservative site known for fueling conspiracy theories, about “Obama’s kin” living in Kenya as a criminal. He also repeated a claim by Birther Jack Cashill that Obama didn’t write his book, Dreams From My Father.
Ahead of the vote for Bush, progressive groups teamed up to try to tank his confirmation. Twenty-seven LGBTQ rights groups wrote to senators urging them to reject Bush. NARAL Pro-Choice America ran ads on the online front pages of certain GOP senators’ hometown papers, urging them to oppose this “dangerous” nominee. They also sent supporters to Capitol Hill to deliver copies of Bush’s blog posts to GOP senators seen at potentially flippable, including Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).
Bush’s confirmation is just the beginning for President Donald Trump, who is unbelievably well-positioned to revamp the nation’s federal courts. He inherited a whopping 108 court vacancies when he became president ― double what President Barack Obama inherited when he took office ― and, despite his knack for sabotaging his party’s agenda, has been quietly plowing ahead with sending conservative judicial nominees to the Senate.
With Republicans in control of the Senate, Trump’s court picks will have a relatively easy time getting confirmed, too.