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Editorial: Hill's survey

Posted: January 29, 2015 3:39 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2015 1:00 a.m.

This country has, in many instances, gone overboard in enforcing the first amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The founding fathers never intended to remove all semblances of religion from public life, yet we have moved in that direction. But a recent attempt by one South Carolina lawmaker to question potential judges about religious matters went far beyond reason and was properly squelched by state agency staffers.

Rep. Jonathon Hill issued the 30-question survey, which included questions about whether prospective judges believed in a Supreme Being and what their relationship to this being was; whether they’d make prayer and religious displays a part of their courts; what types of religious organizations they belonged to; and whether or not they’d perform homosexual marriages. Other questions explored a number of controversial issues involving hate crimes, the rights of unborn babies and gun ordinances. But staff members of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission informed him the questions weren’t appropriate in light of the Code of Conduct under which judges have to operate.

 

Ironically, we are reminded of the grilling that U.S. Supreme Court nominees must undergo from Senate panels, in which pointed questions are drawn as “litmus tests” to see whether candidates meet prescribed philosophies. Such questioning is inappropriate, just as Rep. Hill’s queries were. We’re glad that this nonsense has been put to bed here in the Palmetto State.

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