Trump’s Pick to Replace Sessions Thinks Judges Need a “Biblical View” of Justice November 8, 2018

Trump’s Pick to Replace Sessions Thinks Judges Need a “Biblical View” of Justice

Yesterday, just hours after the midterm elections had ended, Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and announced that the man who oversees the Robert Mueller investigation (though Sessions had recused himself) would be replaced by someone who once said judges should have a “biblical view of justice.”

Trump announced the staff change via Tweet just after the Democrats regained control of the House, putting him directly in the line of fire for new investigations. Trump said Matthew G. Whitaker had credentials as chief of staff to Sessions but neglected to mention his controversial comments from the past.

Whitaker’s statements on the biblical views of judges can be traced back to 2014, when he was running for the U.S. Senate. He actually specified that, if elected, he would only support federal judicial nominees who looked at “justice” through a biblical (New Testament) lens.

If [judges] have a secular world view, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge,” Whitaker said at an April 25, 2014, Family Leader debate.

Whitaker didn’t return my call to his office, but as a lawyer, one might expect him to know that setting religious conditions for holding a public office would violate the Iowa and U.S. constitutions. He was effectively saying that if elected, he would see no place for a judge of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or other faith, or of no faith. Yet no one in the audience or on the podium seemed to have a problem with that, and his answer drew applause.

In a secular country, judges should be supported based on their ability to use reason, not faith, in assessing a problem. Whitaker was criticizing what he should have been celebrating, showing off his constitutional ignorance in the process.

He also ignored how biblical justice is often not justice at all. No holy book that suggests rape and death as punishments for crimes should be the basis for our own justice system.

During the debate, blogger and moderator Erick Erickson asked about the criteria each candidate would use to reject then-President Obama’s expected judicial nominees. Whitaker went as far as to say he would reject nominees who only adhered to the Old Testament, including Jewish nominees.

“Natural law often times is used from the eye of the beholder and what I would like to see — I’d like to see things like their world view, what informs them. Are they people of faith? Do they have a biblical view of justice? — which I think is very important because we all know that our government …”

Levitical or New Testament?” interrupted Erickson.

I’m a New Testament,” continued Whitaker. “And what I know is as long as they have that world view, that they’ll be a good judge.”

There’s your new attorney general. A man whose appointment was almost certainly made to stifle the special prosecutor’s investigation into Trump also turns out to have a warped sense of morality. Shocking.

These details aren’t the biggest concerns with his appointment, but they suggest a kind of thinking no one should want in an attorney general, much less one taking on that role under a giant cloud of suspicion.

(Screenshot via YouTube)

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