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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday confirmed a federal judge who once equated abortion with slavery, calling them the "two greatest tragedies in our country," and who pledged fealty to Donald Trump during the Republican National Convention.
The vote was 51-47 to elevate Kentucky lawyer John Bush to a lifetime post on the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Democrats objected strongly to the nomination, arguing that Bush's blog posts under a pseudonym disqualified him. Those included the post about abortion and slavery, links to articles on an alt-right conspiracy theory website, and the comment "Time to roll with Trump" while the GOP convention was underway last summer.
"They are awful, they are disgraceful," said Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, arguing that Bush was "uniquely unqualified for the job."
But Bush was strongly supported by fellow Kentuckian Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who lectured Franken on the Senate floor for saying that Bush was the worst nominee he's seen in his time on the Judiciary Committee.
McConnell called Bush "a man of integrity and considerable ability" and said that Franken needed to "think a little harder about his tenure on the Judiciary Committee."
McConnell pointed out that the committee had considered and approved a judicial candidate nominated by former President Barack Obama who also had authored regrettable and offensive blog posts, and now sits on the bench.
"So I hope I have at least refreshed the memory of my friend from Minnesota and some of my other Democratic colleagues," McConnell concluded angrily.
During his Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this year, Bush said he regretted some of his posts, including the one equating slavery and abortion. But he explained them as a "political activity" that would not carry over to his tenure on the bench.
Bush will be taking the seat of a conservative judge, Danny Boggs, on a court already dominated by Republicans. The 6th Circuit covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
Bush got his law degree from Harvard Law School and is a partner in Louisville law firm Bingham Greenebaum Doll, where his past work includes serving as one of former President Ronald Reagan's attorneys during the Iran-Contra investigation, according to the firm's website.