Politics

Louisville lawyer John Bush is still awaiting a vote on his confirmation by President Donald Trump to be a judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. During hearings last month, he dodged questions dealing with controversial blog posts he penned under a pseudonym.

In a post from 2008 on the Elephants in the Bluegrass blog, Bush wrote that the landmark Supreme Court decision dealing with abortion, Roe vs. Wade, was decided by “activist judges.”

Bingham, Greenebaum, Doll LLP

John Bush

He also said that abortion was one of the nation’s “greatest tragedies”—along with slavery. In the post, Bush said both Roe vs. Wade and the Dred Scott case, which denied a black man’s right to sue for his freedom, precipitating the Civil War, relied on similar judicial reasoning.

Lawmakers questioned Bush’s blogging during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing last month. Bush said he wouldn’t bring his political views to the bench.

“There are millions of Americans who have a different viewpoint about Roe. I’m setting that completely aside,” Bush said. “If I were to be confirmed, I will faithfully apply the law of Roe vs. Wade and all other precedent following it.”

Bush made more than 400 posts to the blog, discussing his opposition to same-sex marriage, former President Obama’s Kenyan heritage and calling former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “Mama Pelosi.”

Bush is Trump’s second nominee to the appeals court, which handles cases from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan.

Earlier this year, the Senate confirmed Judge Amul Thapar to serve on the court—he previously served as a U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Bush is currently a partner at the Louisville law firm Bingham Greenebaum Doll, and according to his website practices complex litigation dealing with financial institutions, intellectual property and product liability disputes.

He is also an influential member of the Federalist Society, a conservative group that advocates for the literal interpretation of laws and the Constitution based on their original meaning.

During a Federalist Society event in 2009, Bush said that a landmark Supreme Court ruling that strengthened press protections from libel claims was probably “wrongly decided.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended Bush’s credentials during the hearing last month.

“Mr. Bush, as we all do, has his own personal views about politics, which he enjoys discussing,” McConnell said. “But this does not diminish the professional esteem in which his colleagues hold him, their fondness for him, or their belief that he will follow the law.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America launched a six-figure ad campaign opposing Bush’s nomination in home states of Senate Judiciary members last month.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t yet scheduled a vote on Bush’s nomination. If he is approved, his confirmation would be voted on by the full U.S. Senate.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.