President Donald Trump’s acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, believes only Christians are fit to be judges, saying in 2014 that those without a “biblical view of justice” should not be on the bench — and even suggesting he would block non-Christian judicial appointments were he able, according to Newsweek.
> While Whitaker singled out atheists in particular as being unfit to serve, his comments also extended to Jewish and Muslim Americans.
> In 2014, Whitaker was running for the Republican Senate nomination in Iowa and participated in a forum hosted by the religious-right group The Family Leader. The forum’s leader, Bob Vander Plaats, outlined the themes of the event in his opening remarks. “We believe God has three institutions: It would be the church, the family, and government,” he said. The Republican nominees were then asked a series of questions about their religious values, including their views on federal judgeships.
> “If you get to the United States Senate and you have the majority, you can block President Obama’s judges,” said moderator Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger. “But most Americans would say you need to have a real reason to block those judges other than just they’re liberal. How do you set the criteria that you will use to block those judges?”
Whitaker took the most radial view of those presented:
> “As someone that’s interacted with the federal judiciary a time or two, I will tell you that I have a unique perspective on federal judges,” he said.
> “And while I agree that I want to understand their judicial philosophy and whether they understand natural law and natural rights and then the founding documents and how they fit together...I don’t think that gets us far enough because natural law oftentfimes (sic) is used from the eye of the beholder," he continued. "What I’d like to see is things like their worldview.… Are they people of faith? Do they have a biblical view of justice? I think that is very important.”
Whitaker went on to add that judicial appointees would need to “have that [New Testament] worldview” in order to be a “good judge” and secure his support.
> If judges have a “secular worldview,” said Whitaker, “where this is all we have here on Earth? Then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.”
> The comments that suggest judges need to have a biblical view of justice are “deeply troubling and require immediate clarification,” an Anti-Defamation League spokesperson told Newsweek. “The notion that non-Christian judges are disqualified from service is patently wrong, and completely inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly bars any religious test for public office,” he said.