Judicial nominee is quizzed about sin and same sex marriage

It seems increasingly common that judicial nominees are being questioned about their religious beliefs. Has religious faith become reason to vote against a nominee?

Cory Booker again doubling down on religious litmus testing…


It looked to me like grandstanding from Sen. Booker. Mrs. Rao seemed like she was unprepared to answer the question. It seemed like she didn’t want to answer the question.

Nominess should not be questioned about their religious beliefs, nor should they answer questions about their religious beliefs.


I saw an article on this somewhere and they commended this woman for answering as she did.

she said she would follow precedent, what is wrong with that?

It’s a lame answer. Everyone knows what she meant. Maybe she could have explained to Sen. Booker how the Constitution works. She had the opportunity to correct the man but she was unprepared. He ended up making a fool of himself anyway.

it was probably the coached answer

It didn’t seem coached. She seemed caught of guard. She wanted to say something, but couldn’t find the words, or the courage, one of the two.

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I agree with that. I read that other article, that seemed to say she had the right answers. I will find it later and try to post the link.

I don’t think it would be appropriate to directly ask a nominee about their religion, but it would be appropriate to ask what their views are on same-sex marriage.

Well, a candidate could answer sincerely something like this: “I think that same sex marriage is a violation of divine law. But that has nothing to do with my judicial confirmation. Because all my judicial decisions must be and will be based on the Consitution and on Constitutional precedent, not on religious belief.”

Justice Scalia said much the same thing in an interview once, if I recall.

But if a nominee answered like that, his questioner would likely be inclined to vote No without further consideration. That’s why there is no religious test. Every judge takes an oath to uphold the constitution, which for lower courts includes SCOTUS precedent. It seems that Catholic nominees often get such questions, but Baptist, Evangelical, Methodist or Muslim nominees could also be subect to questions about their religious beliefs. But such questions are in my view out of order and should not be asked or answered.

Despite what they might claim, I doubt that any judge’s opinions are based only on the Constitution and Constitutional precedent with their upbringing, religion, or lack of religion, etc. having no influence at all. And I can’t see how a question on same-sex marriage, for example, would be out of order. A judge’s views on this could undoubtedly have an impact on the rights of LGBT citizens. Shouldn’t they expect the legislators who represent them to be able to question those who might seek to roll back their rights?

I think it is quite possible for a judge to set aside his or her personal opinions in order to judge based on the constitution and precedent and the facts at hand. If it were not possible, nobody could be a judge. To give a trivial example, back when the speed limit was 55mph, a judge might firmly believe that such a limit was a bad law, and yet fine someone who got a speeding ticket. It’s what is meant by saying we are governed by laws, not by men.

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When they are asked of only a select group of people they are a religious test



He questioned Rao on her personal religious beliefs regarding gay marriage. This is the tactic used by Democrats like Dianne Feinstein who challenged a Catholic nominee a few months ago about following the “Dogma” of the Catholic church.

Booker got personal with Rao and asked her about her views on gay relationships and homosexuality.

The question wasn’t about same sex. The question was about whether homosexual relations were sinful. It was a religious question, not a legal question.
I hold that adultery is sinful and a valid marriage is indisoluble, but a judge can still grant a divorce according to the law.

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