On Wednesday, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) cited the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a legitimate source of information during his questioning of a judicial nominee during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Franken used the SPLC’s “hate group” directory as evidence that Amy Coney Barrett - a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School and President Donald Trump’s nominee for judgeship on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals — had accepted a paid speaking engagement from a “hate group"; in this case, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF):

On the financial disclosure report that you submitted to tis committee, you listed two payments of $2,100 each from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

ADF, for those who are not familiar with it, is a far-right group that files cases and lobbies for policies that ADF characterized as “defending religious liberty.” But when you actually take a look at ADF’s work, it’s clear that the group’s real purpose to is to advance an extreme vision of society.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, describes ADF as a group that has “supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the United States and criminalization abroad — criminalization of homosexuality — has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of transgender people abroad, has linked homosexuality to pedophilia, and claims that a homosexual agenda will destroy Christianity and society. ...

This is a group that fights against equal treatment of LGBT people.

Barrett said she had not detected “a whiff” of what Franken described in her dealings with the ADF.

"I question your judgment. The root word of judgment is judge," said Franken to Barrett, describing her acceptance of a paid speaking engagement with the ADF as "irresponsible" and "show[ing] bad judgment."

"You are saying to me tha you don't vet who pays you to give a speech. Now that to me is irresponsible and shows bad judgment. ... I would vet whoever asked me to speak," added Franken.

Watch Franken's questioning of Barrett below.

The SPLC is regularly cited by left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets - such as CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico - as a resource of information regarding “hate groups.”

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