In 1838, a young man rose to give a speech to a youth group about the political events that were taking place at the time. His audience was undoubtedly anxious, as James Madison, the last of the Founding Fathers, had recently died. Without the example of American virtue displayed by the “patriots of ’76,” many people felt they were left without direction and mob rule was spreading.

But the aspiring politician devised a solution: Refocus admiration for our Founders to reverence for the laws they created themselves. As the founding generation stood for the Declaration of Independence “so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor,” he said.

The speaker was Abraham Lincoln, who was 28 years old at the time. My friend Peggy Noonan composed this story brilliantly in a recent column in the Wall Street Journal. The heart of the message is this: To love America is to revere our Constitution and laws.

We can do that in the U.S. Senate by putting forth exceptional, well-qualified judges who uphold and apply our laws equally to all.

I’m proud to say the Senate recently did just that by confirming one of Nebraska’s own to the federal bench: Brian Buescher.

Growing up on a farm in Clay County, Brian learned the important lessons of a long day’s work and determination. His love of the law is rooted in his upbringing, where he experienced how they can directly affect the daily lives of Americans — especially those who live and work in the heartland.

Buescher was a partner at Kutak Rock, the largest law firm in Nebraska. There, he was chairman of the firm’s agribusiness litigation team and oversaw large complex commercial litigation which included environmental law, food law, real estate, class actions, product liability and banking.

Over his 20-year career, Brian displayed his devotion to upholding our Constitution and laws at every turn. The American Bar Association overwhelmingly rated Brian as “Qualified.” The American Agricultural Law Firm awarded him the Excellence in Agricultural Law Award for Private Practice in 2017.

Last November, I had the privilege of introducing Brian before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing. I discussed his sound legal mind and honorable moral character.

Unfortunately, after realizing they couldn’t disparage his record, his judicial philosophy nor ethical standards, Senate Democrats did the unthinkable: They attacked his faith.

Buescher was specifically criticized for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, the largest Roman Catholic fraternal organization in the world. This is an organization that is known for its incredible charitable work. They’ve donated $1.1 billion to charitable organizations and performed over 68 million hours of volunteer service in the last decade. Whether it’s a pancake breakfast to support local schools or uniting communities for a fish fry, the Knights of Columbus demonstrate acts of kindness and charity across the Good Life every year.

To assert that membership in the Knights of Columbus is disqualifying is puzzling on its own. But to hold a religious test for a judicial nominee is to tear the fabric of our foundational American values: The individual freedom to worship and pray how we choose.

Despite these anti-Catholic, anti-American attacks, the Senate confirmed Buescher as a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Nebraska.

Buescher is not only a seasoned litigator, but also a man of fair-mindedness, humility and honesty. It was an honor to recommend him to the president for this judgeship, and I have great confidence that he will serve our state and nation with integrity and the utmost ethical principles. I look forward to his installation on Nebraska’s federal bench.

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