Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii wrote an op-ed in The Hill on Tuesday criticizing Senate Democrats for suggesting that a judicial nominee's Catholic faith might disqualify him from the position.
Without mentioning them by name, Gabbard referenced questions by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) submitted to judicial nominee Brian Buescher.
What Gabbard said: "While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher's Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus," Gabbard wrote. "If Buescher is 'unqualified' because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then President John F. Kennedy, and the 'liberal lion of the Senate' Ted Kennedy would have been 'unqualified' for the same reasons."
"We must call this out for what it is—religious bigotry," Gabbard wrote later in the op-ed. "This is not just when such prejudice is anti-Catholic, but also when it is anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Hindu, or anti-Protestant, or any other religion."
Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq War, is was the first Hindu elected to Congress in 2012.
What is she referring to? Harris questioned Buescher about his membership in the Catholic service organization the Knights of Columbus, and the organization's stance on same-sex marriage. Hirono asked about Buescher's ability to be a fair judge on abortion issues.
How Buescher defended himself: "The Knights of Columbus does not have the authority to take personal political positions on behalf of all of its approximately two million members," Buescher wrote in his written responses to the senators' questions.
Buescher said he joined the Knights of Columbus when he was 18 yeas old and that he participates in charitable and community events.