John Bush, President Donald Trump’s nominee for a vacancy on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was confirmed Thursday, after a contentious battle over blog posts he wrote under a pen name.
Bush’s nomination was confirmed on a 51-47 vote that followed party lines.
“It is good to see Bush confirmed, but dozens of judicial nominees continue to languish in the Senate, where Senate Democrats continue to obstruct and delay,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network. Several of the president’s nominees, including Justice Joan Larsen and Justice David Stras, have not yet appeared for hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee due to Democratic obstruction.
Larsen and Stras were nominated for vacancies arising in Michigan and Minnesota. By Senate tradition, hearings for judicial nominees are not held until the senators representing states where the vacancy occurs submit their approval to the chair of the judiciary committee. Both senators from Michigan and Minnesota are Democrats.
Democrats bitterly contested Bush’s nomination after he disclosed he had written posts on a Kentucky political blog called “Elephants in the Blue Grass” under the pseudonym “G. Morris.”
In a 2008 post, Bush wrote that slavery and abortion are “the two greatest tragedies in our country.” In the same post, he argued that Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott v. Sanford — an 1857 Supreme Court decision which found that slaves were not citizens — “relied on similar reasoning.”
“John Bush’s anonymously published blog posts show that the Trump administration handpicked him to appease fringe elements of his base, individuals who share his agenda to roll back the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and working people,” said Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Other posts linked to websites expressing alt-right political opinion, prompting further objections from Democrats and at least one Republican on the judiciary committee. Still, the prospect of any Republican voting against his nomination was slim, as Bush’s fellow Kentuckian, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, aggressively backed his nomination.
GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan missed the vote.
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