On page 2 please find an abridged version of the March 15, 2002, “Ides of March” speech given by US Senator Orrin Hatch on the Senate floor, when Democrats controlled the US Senate. This was the first time a link was made between the judiciary nominees conflict, the abortion litmus test, and a religious test. IMPORTANT: Here is how the abortion litmus test is a surrogate for the religous litmus test, as excerpted from the speech:

Some of my Democrat colleagues have openly sought to introduce ideology into the judicial confirmation process, something which I repudiate. I am now concerned that the abortion litmus test would have the same effect as a religious test.
Indeed, most people who are pro-choice hold their position as a matter of ideology. Some even allow their chosen ideology to trump the tenets of their religion. They do so in good conscience no doubt, and I respect that.
But the great majority of people who are pro-life come to their positions as a result of their religious convictions. We view unborn life as sacred. We believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights” and that among these is “life.” Many Americans hold this view as a religious tenet, but this view does not affect their ability to interpret the law and precedent, just as skin color does not.
In effect, what is ideology to my Democrat friends is a matter of religious conviction to a large portion of the American people….


“The Ides of March Speech”
March 15, 2002
Mr. President, I rise today to express my deepest-felt disappointment in the decision of the Judiciary Committee yesterday against the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering, a jurist of the highest character and proven dedication to public service.
…Mr. President, yesterday Senators on the Judiciary Committee received a letter from three dozen members of the House of Representatives, including the former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Mr Hyde.
House members asked that the Judiciary Committee repudiate extreme liberal, left-of-mainstream special interest groups that have raised Judge Pickering’s religious views as an issue, going so far as to attack Judge Pickering for a speech he gave on the Bible when he was president of the Mississippi Southern Baptist Convention. (I ask that the House letter be entered in to the record.)
Mr. President, I join with the concern expressed by my colleagues here and in the House, including Democrats. The fact that an impression has been created that the Senate Judiciary Committee would impose any test, whether a religious test or an abortion litmus test concerns me greatly.
Republicans have refused to establish an abortion litmus test in either direction when we controlled this Committee. We confirmed 377 of President Clinton’s judicial nominees without imposing such a test.
Maybe this has something to do with the make up of the Judiciary Committee: all the members on one side of the aisle share a single view, but on the Republican side, both views are welcomed.
I will not ever agree that the Judiciary Committee or the Senate should exercise its advice and consent responsibility in a way that makes an absolutely lock-step demand that nominees think in a particular way on any single issue. Of course, as long as the Democrats are in the majority, I cannot stop the them from doing so.
But I can promise this: A decision to impose a litmus test will offend everyone in this country who understands and appreciates the rule of law, the independent judiciary, and the great tradition of debate and acceptance of diversity that have made our country the strong democracy it is today…
Although some senators on this committee prize diversity as a standard for the confirmation process. It concerns me that some people’s definition of diversity includes only those with diverse skin color or ethnicity, and then only if they agree with their liberal views.
Take Miguel Angel Estrada, who the President nominated 310 days ago, almost a year, Mr. President.
Mr. Estrada, an immigrant from Honduras with a distinguished career, would be the first Hispanic on the prestigious Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and yet I read on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today that Democrats are gearing up to do to him what they did to Judge Pickering.
Diversity appears not to include intellectual diversity – diversity of personal viewpoints or religious conviction, that have nothing to do with ability to follow the law.
Some of my Democrat colleagues have openly sought to introduce ideology into the judicial confirmation process, something which I repudiate. I am now concerned that the abortion litmus test would have the same effect as a religious test.
Indeed, most people who are pro-choice hold their position as a matter of ideology. Some even allow their chosen ideology to trump the tenets of their religion. They do so in good conscience no doubt, and I respect that.
But the great majority of people who are pro-life come to their positions as a result of their religious convictions. We view unborn life as sacred. We believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights” and that among these is “life.” Many Americans hold this view as a religious tenet, but this view does not affect their ability to interpret the law and precedent, just as skin color does not.
In effect, what is ideology to my Democrat friends is a matter of religious conviction to a large portion of the American people.
When one senator asked Judge Pickering about Roe v. Wade, Judge Pickering’s response was unequivocally that he viewed it as the law of the land and would follow it as a judge, without regard to his private views. Surely, this should be enough. Otherwise, this will mean that no judges with private pro-life views, who derive these views from religious conviction, will ever again be confirmed in a Democrat-led Senate.
Mr. President, to impose an abortion litmus test on private views – call it ideological if you want to – is to exclude from our judiciary a large number of people of religious conviction, who are perfectly prepared to follow the law.
I fear this is the door this Democrat-led Senate could be opening. I can understand why people would believe that a religious test is being imposed.
Certainly, as a former president of the Mississippi Southern Baptist Convention, Judge Pickering’s nomination makes concern over a religious test understandable. The recorded attacks of the extreme left, special interest groups based on Judge Pickering’s religious views are repugnant, and I do hope that my Democrat colleagues will indeed repudiate such tactics.
Judge Pickering’s record on the bench shows that he, in good faith, does understand the difference between the law and private views, and that he has followed the law regardless of personal beliefs. …
…What is now occurring is far beyond the mere tug-of-war politics that unfortunately surrounds Senate judicial confirmation since Robert Bork. My Democrat colleagues are out to effect a fundamental change in our constitutional system. Rather than seeking to determine the judiciousness of a nominee and whether a nominee will be able to rule on the law or the Constitution without personal bias, my Democrat colleagues are out to guarantee that our judges are in fact biased. And certainly no person who holds certain religious convictions need apply.
In the America that the Senate Democrats would reshape, citizens will have to worry about the personal politics of the judge to whom they come for justice under the law.
Mr. President, the legitimacy of our courts, and especially the Supreme Court, comes from much more than black robes and a high bench. It comes from the people’s belief that judges and justices will apply a judicial philosophy without regard to personal politics or bias.
What my Democrat colleagues are pursuing is an end to the independence of our judiciary with unforeseeable, unintended consequences to the strength of the republic.
Mr. President, today is the Ides of March. I would call on my Senate colleagues to “Beware.” The fight they started with Judge Pickering is one that others may end. I hope, however, to quote Shakespeare further, that they have not crossed the Rubicon, that the die is not cast.
I yield the floor.

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