June 03, 2019 - Monday
On Bogren, Two's Company
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was willing to stand alone on the nomination of Michigan attorney Michael Bogren. Now, thank goodness, he won't have to. The more people hear about the offensive comparisons the East Lansing lawyer made, the more disturbed they are. That includes Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
In his confirmation hearing, Senator Hawley gave Michael Bogren an out. He asked Bogren, point blank, if he actually believed what he said about Catholic families being equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan. When this nominee to the federal court said yes, even the Missouri senator was surprised to hear the answer: "I stand by those comparisons." Since then, a lot of the Michigan attorney's supporters have tried to excuse the offense as an attorney just doing his job. Senator Ted Cruz, a lawyer himself, finds that very hard to believe.
"The nominee didn't just represent a client; at his confirmation he affirmatively declared 'there is no distinction' between Catholic teachings and KKK bigotry," he tweeted. "I'm a NO," Cruz announced. "And POTUS should withdraw the nomination." FRC, dozens of leaders in the Conservative Action Project, and a growing number of Republicans agree. A man who thinks Christians shouldn't have a place in the public market because they believe in the freedom of religion and expression should never get a lifetime appointment.
When Steve and Bridget Tennes were kicked out of the East Lansing Farmers Market for refusing to contract their farms for same-sex marriages, locals couldn't believe it. The attack on the Tenneses was especially upsetting since both Steve and Bridget are military veterans, and they know better than anyone the price of freedom. "We were surprised, and we were shocked," Steve said at the time. "My wife and I both volunteered to serve in the military to protect freedom. Now we come home and the freedom that we worked to protect, we have to defend in our own backyard."
Michael Bogren knew what kind of case it was when he agreed to represent the city. If he had a problem with East Lansing's position, he could have withdrawn from the suit -- or not taken it at all. Even in the defense, he could have taken a different approach. And he certainly, Senator Hawley pointed out, never needed to stoop to personal attacks and vicious rhetoric.
As the chorus of Bogren skeptics grows louder, NRO's Ramesh Ponnuru surveyed a number of experts about Bogren's responsibilities as an attorney -- and whether they required him to characterize the Tenneses in such a hateful way. "Most of the conservative legal academics to whom I've spoken (who admittedly may not be a representative sample, but who have read the key filings) do not believe that Bogren acted in a reasonable manner. They point to three features of his representation beyond his KKK analogies. Bogren opposed letting the Catholic Church file a brief in the case, an unusually aggressive move that could be read as suggesting animus. He gratuitously criticized the plaintiffs for their allegedly selective fidelity to Catholic teaching. And he misstated the law."
Republicans can't afford to get this one wrong. Men and women of faith don't need another hostile judge slipping through the confirmation process with a lifetime appointment. If you agree, contact your senators and urge them to vote NO on Bogren.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.