It's being called a great victory for religious freedom by some. Others say it's just a reminder of what the U.S. Constitution has said for 230 years.
Several weeks ago when Brian Buescher was being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee for his appointment as a federal judge, Senator Maize Hirono (D-Hawaii) noted Buescher's membership in the Catholic service organization Knights of Columbus, which, being Catholic, has a pro-life ethic, and asked him this.
Hirono: "You have a moral duty to consider abortion to be illegal. So if you have any cases before you that raise the question of a woman's right to choose, would you recuse yourself?"
Assumed 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-California) virtue-signaled with a similar attack, spawning this headline in the New York Post: "These two Democratic senators are waging a bigoted campaign against Catholics." Both senators described positions taken by the Catholic Church as "extreme."
The accusations amounted to a blatant anti-Catholic, religious test – and Republicans jumped on it right away. GOP Senator Ben Sasse, from Buescher's home state, introduced a resolution on Wednesday:
Sasse: "Now therefore be it resolved that it is the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates Clause 3 of Article VI of the Constitution of the United States which establishes that ... no religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office."
He told his colleagues it was Constitution 101, adding: "If a senator has a problem with this resolution, you're probably in the wrong line of work, because this is what America is." (See Sasse's speech on the Senate floor below)
The resolution (S.Res. 19) passed by unanimous consent – meaning both sides of the aisle essentially were criticizing Senators Harris and Hirono for their previous comments.