Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 3, 2020 / 08:10 am
Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris questioned a judicial nominee over his affiliation with a Christian adoption agency, and another about briefs he wrote for religious liberty lawsuits against the federal contraception mandate. She also questioned another nominee because he had been endorsed by a Texas pro-life organization.
In December 2018, CNA first reported that, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) had criticized a Catholic judicial nominee for his membership of the Knights of Columbus. Those questions now appear to be for Harris part of a pattern of scrutinizing the association of judicial nominees with various faith-based groups and civic organizations, including Christian adoption agencies and women’s pregnancy support centers.
In one year alone, Harris questioned prospective judges about abortion, contraception, faith based adoption and fostering, transgender rights, and same sex marriage.
In August 2018, Harris questioned Jonathan Allen Kobes, nominee to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, about his membership of the board of Bethany Christian Services, a global non-profit that provides adoption services and crisis pregnancy support.
In 2012, Kobes was on the board of Bethany’s location in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, according to his nominee questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Harris, in her questions for the record, asked Kobes about Bethany’s Philadelphia location. The city of Philadelphia in 2018 had stopped referring foster children to both Bethany and Catholic Social Services of the archdiocese, due to their faith-based policies of not working with same-sex couples on foster children placement.
Bethany eventually changed its policy and began working with same-sex couples by June 2018, while Catholic Social Services maintained its former position, and has had no new foster care placements with Philadelphia. Its legal battle with the city has reached the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments this fall in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.
After Bethany Christian resumed its foster care placements with the city of Philadelphia, Harris asked Kobes if he was “aware that Bethany Christian Services discriminated against LGBTQ couples who sought to adopt children?”