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Nominations (cont.)

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SANTORUM. Will the Senator yield?

Mr. HATCH. I am happy to yield, without losing my right to the floor.

Mr. SANTORUM. To get to the rest of this letter by Carl Anderson, who is the head of the Knights of Columbus nationwide, I want to read the concluding paragraph and ask the Senator to comment as to whether he agrees with Mr. Anderson in his conclusion as to what is going on with this nomination. He says this:

AS HEAD OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST CATHOLIC FRATERNAL ORGANIZATION AND AS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS, I AM DISMAYED THAT THE COURSE OF MR. PRYOR'S NOMINATION COMPELS ME TO MAKE A POINT WHICH BY NOW SHOULD BE OBVIOUS: A GOOD CATHOLIC CAN ALSO BE A GOOD PUBLIC SERVANT. MUCH AS I WOULD WISH OTHERWISE, A CONTINUATION OF THE TREND THAT CRITICS OF MR. PRYOR'S NOMINATION HAVE SET IN MOTION WILL COMPEL AMERICAN CATHOLICS TO FACE RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY OF A KIND MANY OF US THOUGHT TO BE EXTINCT IN THIS NATION.

Does the Senator agree that such continuation of activity could lead to such bigotry?

Mr. HATCH. Well, I believe it can be, and I believe there is some from the outside groups. I do not think there is any question. I would not want to attribute that to any of my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, although I have to admit this issue of abortion is becoming a litmus test issue to Democrats, that is pro-abortion. I think that is wrong. I remember what the media did to Republicans during the Reagan administration, continually trying to say there was a litmus test. I know there was not because the person who vetted all the judges is a former staffer of mine who is now on the Michigan Supreme Court. I know it is not being done by this administration. But literally, Democrats are making abortion a litmus test issue.

The Democrats are fond of saying, yes, but we have passed all kinds of Bush judges, 140 of them so far. Well, they cannot stop them all. So they selectively pick people like General Pryor who clearly has very strongly held views but who clearly has abided by the law. They ignore that he abided by the law and attack him on his strongly held views. In large measure, it comes down to the issue of abortion because he differs with them on the policy issue of abortion.

Mr. SANTORUM. If the Senator will yield for an additional question.

Mr. HATCH. Without losing my right to the floor.

Mr. SANTORUM. Is the Senator familiar with a letter written by Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, which was sent yesterday?

Mr. HATCH. I just saw it tonight, so I am familiar. I have not read it in detail, but I am familiar with it.

Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that this letter be printed in the RECORD.

Mr. SANTORUM. I say to the Senator from Utah that I wanted to bring up this letter. This is not the only Catholic group that has expressed concern about what is code worded as "deeply held beliefs" but seems to be a little stronger than that. I will read the second paragraph of this letter and ask the Senator to comment again on this:

I THINK OF THE YOUNG MOTHER, STRUGGLING TO RAISE HER CHILDREN IN WHAT IS A CHALLENGING CULTURE. SHE RAISES THEM TO BE GOOD CITIZENS AND GOOD CATHOLICS. WHAT SHOULD THIS MOTHER TELL HER CHILDREN? "SORRY, IN ORDER TO SERVE OUR GOVERNMENT, YOU WILL HAVE TO SHED YOUR CATHOLIC BELIEFS." PUTTING CATHOLICS IN THIS POSITION IS SHAMEFUL AND NOT A PROPER MEASURE OF OUR GREAT LAND?

I ask the Senator if he has any thoughts on this issue?

Mr. HATCH. This is the first time I have seen this letter. To him, this is a very important issue. The views he expresses are drawn from what he's heard at the hearing and the markup. Reasonable people can draw these conclusions from the markup, from the debate.

It is coming down to where abortion is the be-all and end-all issue to my colleagues on the other side. Sure, they cannot vote against everyone. I don't know how many of these people are pro-life or pro-choice. I never ask anyone that.

The fact is, I can see why people are drawing this conclusion. I will give a few other reasons they are drawing that conclusion before we are through here tonight.

Mr. SANTORUM. If the Senator will yield for another question, I ask unanimous consent to have printed an article by Bishop Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, written as a result of this nomination. The article talks about a friend of his in Alabama and the fact there were not very many Catholics in Alabama in the 1960s when he was growing up and how Alabama has changed to the point where they can elect a Catholic as their attorney general.

This article reads in part:

I HAVE NEVER MET MR. PRYOR, BUT HIS POLITICAL LIFE IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD. HE HAS SERVED THE STATE OF ALABAMA WITH DISTINCTION, ENFORCING ITS LAWS AND COURT DECISIONS FAIRLY AND CONSISTENTLY. THIS IS WHY PRESIDENT BUSH NOMINATED HIM TO THE 11TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS, AND WHY THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVED HIM LAST WEDNESDAY FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE FULL SENATE.

BUT THE COMMITTEE DEBATE ON PRYOR WAS UGLY, AND THE VOTE TO ADVANCE HIS NOMINATION SPLIT EXACTLY ALONG PARTY LINES. WHY? BECAUSE MR. PRYOR BELIEVES THAT CATHOLIC TEACHING ABOUT THE SANCTITY OF LIFE IS TRUE; THAT THE 1973 SUPREME COURT ROE V. WADE DECISION WAS A POORLY REASONED MISTAKE; AND THAT ABORTION IS WRONG IN ALL CASES, EVEN RAPE AND INCEST. AS A RESULT, AMERICANS WERE TREATED TO THE BIZARRE SPECTACLE OF NON-CATHOLIC SENATORS ORRIN HATCH AND JEFF SESSIONS DEFENDING MR. PRYOR'S CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RELIGIOUS RIGHTS TO MR. PRYOR'S CRITICS, INCLUDING SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN, AN "ABORTION-RIGHTS" CATHOLIC.

He concludes with:

SOME THINGS CHANGE, AND SOME THINGS DON'T. THE BIAS AGAINST "PAPISM" IS ALIVE AND WELL IN AMERICA. IT JUST HAS A DIFFERENT ADDRESS. BUT AT LEAST SOME PEOPLE IN ALABAMA NOW KNOW WHERE HE LOCAL CATHOLIC CHURCH IS—AND WHERE SHE STANDS—EVEN IF SOME PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON APPARENTLY DON'T.

I ask the Senator from Utah if he has seen that article.

Mr. HATCH. I had not seen it before tonight, that I was aware of. I had been told the Catholic bishop had written this article. I can see why he has drawn this conclusion. I can see why anyone would.

I hear the moaning and groaning and scheming, but I happen to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I belong to the only church in the history of this country that had an extermination order out against it, where our people were brutally murdered and driven from State to State leaving trails of blood.

I don't like religious discrimination in any way. I can see why people are drawing these conclusions from this debate. I can see why people draw such conclusions when you start attacking a man because he has deeply held beliefs. Earlier, I read one statement from Pryor's hearing, questioning his religious beliefs. It was made; and anyone with brains would say, what are his deeply held beliefs? He is a traditional pro-life Catholic conservative. And I guess that is not a good thing to be if you're before this body seeking confirmation to the federal bench.

I think it is a good thing to be. I don't think it is bad to be a liberal pro-life Catholic. I think it is important to live your religion, regardless of what religious persuasion you are. I understand religious discrimination. The name of my church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, yet I am unacceptable in certain groups because they don't think we are Christians. I will match my Christianity up against anyone's. I read the Bible all the time. I try to read it from beginning to end every year. I pretty well do that. It is the greatest book in the world. And it is the greatest literature. But I understand discrimination. Some people will not handle the music I write because they don't think I am Christian. I don't mean to bring that up here except that it applies. I understand that. I understand why people feel this way. If my colleagues on the other side don't understand it, I say shame on them.

When abortion becomes the be-all and end-all in the judicial nomination process—which is what these outside groups, almost every one of them, are committed to on the Democratic side—it is a serious issue. There are serious decent people on both sides of that issue. But when it becomes the be-all and end-all litmus test whether a person can serve—that's wrong. And don't give me the argument we have approved all kinds of people who may be pro-life. Of course, Members cannot vote against everybody.

But we are filibustering, for the first time in history, good people, judicial nominations to the Federal courts of the United States of America, for the first time in history. I know a lot of it comes down to abortion. I did not let that happen when I was chairman during the Clinton years. I don't think it should happen right now, especially somebody such as Pryor who has a reputation for obeying and standing up for the law even though he disagrees with it.

As a politician he has that reputation. I imagine if he can do it as a politician, he can do it and we can take his word on it that he would abide by the law and sustain the law of the land as a judge. Yet the principal argument against him is that he won't enforce the law regarding abortion. There are other arguments used, all of which are false, in my opinion. This abortion issue is becoming the be-all and end-all issue for Democrats in the Senate. There is always somebody who wants to enforce an abortion litmus test, but we stopped it on our side. It ought to be stopped on their side.

Mr. SANTORUM. If the Senator will yield for another question, I sincerely thank the Senator from Utah for his yielding to me for these questions and for his very articulate defense of this nominee and the principle which I believe and I think the Senator believes in.

One of the reasons I brought the article up was, many people outside of this Chamber—not just Catholic, not just Christian, but of all faiths—are deeply concerned about what is going on in this Chamber. I thank the Senator for his willingness to stand up and to have the courage to articulate that. I make the point that he is not alone in coming to the conclusion he has come to, that many people in this Chamber have come to, that this litmus test that is being applied ultimately is a religious one.

Mr. HATCH. The practical application.

Mr. SANTORUM. Which is a very threatening thing.

I say for the record, as a pro-life Catholic, I voted for hundreds of Clinton nominees who I knew were not pro-life—hundreds of them—never voted against one of them, never filibustered any of them. I will match up my fervor in defense of human life against anyone in this Chamber. But not once did I vote against one.

Why? Because that is not my role as a Senator, as a civil servant. I know my duties under the Constitution. I know my role. I know what I am supposed to do. What we are experiencing here now is not, again, the separation of church and state but the separation from anybody who is faithful to their church from the state. That is turning separation of church and state that would cause any of the Founders to be spinning in their grave today. It is exactly what—you can call it anything you want—but that is exactly what is going on.

The greatest of the freedoms we have in this country, the greatest that any country can have, is the freedom to believe the freedom to think. Because if you don't have the freedom to think what you want and the freedom to do what you want, the freedom to speak, to assemble—the freedom to do anything else is meaningless. It is the first of all freedoms. That is under assault in this process.

I commend the Senator from Utah for standing up in defense of this.

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