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What's in a Pseudonym? Judicial Nominee May Find Out

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 24, 2017 4:02 PM

John K. Bush, a nominee to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, probably never expected his blogs to get him much attention because he wrote under a pseudonymn.

He wrote more than 400 blog posts from 2007 to 2016 about a wide range of political issues, largely from a conservative perspective. His wife Bridget Bush, also an attorney and blogger, founded their blog, Elephants in the Bluegrass.

While the blog has a mere 27 followers, now the entire Senate Judiciary Committee is reading Bush's articles. They will decide whether his words matter.

Blog Life Matters

Bush disclosed his blogging in a committee questionnaire after his nomination. He wrote under the pen name, G. Morris, apparently a nod to Gouverneur Morris, a founding father who helped draft the U.S. Constitution.

The problem is, Bush has made some controversial comments in his blogging career. One stands out like a sore thumb waiting to be smashed: he called Sen. Ted Cruz a "sore loser" for not endorsing Trump -- and Cruz is on the judiciary committee.

Justice Watch, a progressive organization, says that some off-color posts render Bush "unfit for a seat on the Sixth Circuit." The website points to about a dozen examples, such as Bush calling slavery and abortion the "two greatest tragedies in our country" and his dismissive comments about protesters at the last Republican convention.

"Speaking of unguarded moments, there were more than a hundred bare naked ladies protesting something earlier today," he wrote. "You know Trump is onto something huge when he causes people to shed their underwear."

Awkward Moments

The nominee will face some awkward moments before the committee; he's already received some blowback for his opinions and past political efforts. Bush supported Trump after he won the presidential nomination, but he had contributed to Sen. Rand Paul's campaign before that.

Long involved in Kentucky politics, Bush volunteered for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaigns in 2008 and 2014. In his questionnaire, he said he told McConnell and a member of Paul's staff that he was interested in a federal judgeship.

A 1989 graduate of Harvard Law School, Bush clerked for a federal appeals judge before joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C. He joined the Kentucky-based firm of Bingham Greenebaum Doll in 1996.

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