Senate confirms pro-Trump birther to be a U.S. Court of Appeals judge

Trump nominated a judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit infamous for promoting conspiracy theories

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 24, 2017 12:51PM (EDT)


One of President Donald Trump's most controversial judicial appointments was just confirmed by the Senate.

Kentucky lawyer John Bush, who is best known for promoting the racist conspiracy theory of birtherism as well as arguing against gay rights, was confirmed by the Senate by a strictly party-line vote on Thursday, according to a report by NPR. He will now serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Although Republicans like Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana expressed dismay with confirming a man whose blog posts were notoriously incendiary and riddled with sourcing errors (mainly because of Bush's reliance on alt right material), they nevertheless voted in favor of his confirmation. The fact that he was strongly supported by his fellow Kentuckian, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, most likely played a role in that.

During a particularly memorable moment of his confirmation hearing, Bush was confronted by Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who expressed disbelief that a potential judge would write blog articles based on discredited sources like World News Daily.

After describing World News Daily as "a website known for peddling conspiracy theories, fake news, and white nationalism" and citing its support for the "widely debunked and racist belief that President Obama was not born in the United States," Franken asked "how did you decide which sources to rely upon in your writings and how did you decide which sources were credible?"

Bush repeatedly dodged the question and simply insisted that there were articles he wishes he had phrased differently, prompting Franken to cuttingly observe that "in my mind, using my judgment to confirm someone to the circuit court who felt free to blog posts, and can’t answer how he decides whether to cite a source or not, whether it’s credible or not, that’s disturbing to me."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Alt Right Birtherism Conspiracy Theories Donald Trump John Bush Partner Video Racism World Net Daily