Biden Renominates Judicial Pick Who Called Christians ‘Bigots’

February 3, 2023
Insider | Judge Calls Christians Bigots

by Maya Noronha & Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

President Biden recently renominated Rita Lin to be a federal judge. Just two months prior, Lin admitted she had called Christians “bigots.” Lin’s initial nomination was returned to his desk without having been put to a vote. Because of Biden’s action, Lin now is once again in consideration to serve for a lifetime position on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Lin once wrote: “The problem with the Christian Coalition is…that they are bigots.” She also referred to Christians as “Bible thumpers.” The comments are from a 1998 article she wrote for the journal Perspective.

Lin disclosed that article in the Senate judiciary questionnaire which permits the Senate to evaluate presidential nominees. At her Senate judiciary hearing last November, U.S. Senator John Kennedy read her words and asked her to verify, “Did I quote that correctly?” Lin admitted, “I did write them.” When Lin tried to distance herself from the comments as when she was “18-years-old or 20,” but Kennedy pointed out that she wrote it when she was “a grown woman” and “three-quarters of the way through your Harvard education.”

At Lin’s attempts to backtrack, Kennedy was justifiably stunned, repeatedly saying, “Wow.”

Watch the full exchange:

Contrary to Lin’s characterization, Christian Coalition is a peaceful organization with a mission to speak out and represent a life-affirming perspective locally and nationally, as well as to protest anti-Christian bigotry.

These comments raise serious questions about whether religious groups will be treated fairly if Lin were to take the bench. All federal judges are required to uphold and apply the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and faithfully apply religious nondiscrimination laws. In addition, the Judicial Code of Ethics requires nondiscrimination on the basis of religion and impartiality.

Lin is not the only nominee with red flags. So far, many of President Biden’s nominees have not inspired confidence on religious liberty. We’ve previously warned about three appellate court nominees whose records raise serious concern. The Senate could be on the verge of confirming:

  • Bradley Garcia, nominee to the influential D.C. Circuit, considered the “second highest” court in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court. During a hearing, Garcia admitted that he chose to take cases and argued against religious freedom. In the Supreme Court case Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru, he challenged the First Amendment rights of religious schools to freely make employment decisions. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently advanced his nomination to the full floor.
  • Julie Rikelman, nominee to the 1st Circuit. She is an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, a liberal organization that represented the Mississippi abortion clinic in Dobbs v. Jackson, the Supreme Court case that returned the power to regulate abortion to the states.
  • Nancy Abudu, nominee to the 11th Circuit. She previously worked as senior staff counsel with the ACLU. More recently, Abudu’s legal experience comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an infamous organization known for labeling political opponents as “hate groups” or “extremists.” A coalition of more than 50 individuals and organizations—including multiple religious groups—sent a letter to Senate leaders expressing their opposition and concern about her record.

Some Americans are worried that Biden’s judges could overhaul and tilt the judiciary in a liberal direction. But looking at the numbers, this does not appear to be case.

So far, the Senate has confirmed 97 Biden judges, a dozen more than Trump’s 85 at his two-year mark. Most of Biden’s judges, however, have been confirmed to the federal district courts. He has fallen behind his predecessors on appellate court confirmations. What’s more, the overall picture suggests that Biden is currently not on track to appoint more judges than Trump. National Review explains:

“About 11% of federal judges are Biden appointees versus 26% who are Trump appointees. Even if Biden fills all current vacancies, he will still have appointed 20% of the bench. Of course, additional vacancies in the future can increase that total. But the Biden administration is not on pace to surpass recent benchmarks for realigning the federal bench.”

Federal judges make critical legal decisions about your religious freedom and First Liberty is keeping a close eye on who is appointed to sit on America’s courts. Our experts will continue to provide you with the facts if any of President Biden’s nominees have a radical or unacceptable record.

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