"Let us continue to express our love of God and neighbor by helping those in need and by standing with our Church, regardless of the popularity of doing so," Anderson exhorted.
"Let us also remember that, from our founding, we have embodied the truth that a good Catholic is a good citizen who shows civility and dignity even in the face of prejudice."
Buescher was nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court Nov. 3. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Buescher's nomination Nov. 28, sending him written questions Dec. 5.
Hirono had asked Buescher if he would end his membership with the Knights of Columbus if confirmed, so as "to avoid any appearance of bias," saying the organization "has taken a number of extreme positions."
And Harris described the Knights as "an all-male society", and asked if Buescher was aware that the Knights of Columbus "opposed a woman's right to choose" and were against "marriage equality" when he joined.
Harris raised a statement from Anderson saying abortion constituted "the killing of the innocent on a massive scale" and asked Buescher if he agreed with Anderson.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) noted the nominee's previously outspoken opposition to abortion and asked, "why should a litigant in your courtroom expect to get a fair hearing from an impartial judge in a case involving abortion rights?"
Buescher ran in the Republican primary for Nebraska attorney general in 2014. During that campaign he described himself as "avidly pro-life" and said opposition to abortion was part of his "moral fabric."
In his responses to the questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Buescher said if confirmed as a federal judge, he would follow established rules regarding conflicts of interest, and that he would not seek to advance personal opinions, but would make rulings in accord with the judicial precedents established by the US Supreme Court.
Anderson is not the only voice to raise objections to the senators' line of questions.
A Jan. 2 Wall Street Journal editorial said that the senators' "argument against Mr. Buescher fits a distressing pattern. No longer is it necessary to engage the political merits of a position, or-in the case of a judicial nominee-demonstrate he'd use personal views to override the law. Today it is enough to label a nominee's religion or associations "extreme" and use that to try to banish him from public life."
The editorial noted another recent instance in which a Catholic faced questions about her faith, mentioning the 2017 confirmation hearing for federal Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, in which Sen. Dianne Feinstein told Barrett "the dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern." That comment sparked a groundswell of support for Barrett's nomination.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Last month, a Washington, D.C. chapter of the Knights of Columbus invited Harris and Hirono to join in their charitable activities, including a February Polar Plunge raising money for the Special Olympics. Neither senator has responded to that invitation.
The Knights of Columbus is active in 17 countries. In 2017, some 2 million members carried out more than 75 million hours of volunteer work and raised more than $185 million for charitable purposes.