The Family Leader, a Christian-based Iowa group, held a debate for GOP U.S. Senate candidates last Friday.

Almost every GOP candidate cited an adherance to God, the Bible, or natural law (which conservatives often refer to as rights from God) as a requirement for federal judge nominees (video below).

According to, debate moderator Erick Erickson asked four GOP candidates, "How do you set the criteria that you will use [to] block judges?"

“Can that judge, can he or she, explain to me natural law and natural rights?” answered candidate Sam Clovis, a college professor. "If they can explain natural law and natural rights and the linkage to our Declaration of Independence, which gives us the why of America, and link it to the Constitution, which gives us the how, they'll get my vote."

Iowa State Senator (R) Joni Ernst agreed with Clovis and added that judges would need to understand our laws "did come from God.”

“So making sure we did the proper research and make sure that any decisions that they have made in the past are decisions that fit within that criteria,” added Ernst.

"My litmus test is, 'Will they uphold the Constitution of the United States and not legislate from the bench,'" said Mark Jacobs, a former CEO of an energy company.

"What I'd like to see are their worldview, what informs them, how do they live their lives, are they people of faith? Do they have a have a biblical view of justice? ” said GOP candidate Matt Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor.

“As long as they have that [biblical] worldview, then they’ll be a good judge,” stated Whitaker. “And if they have a secular worldview, where this is all we have here on earth, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.”

The Iowa Republican praised Clovis and Whitaker, who claimed the U.S. had never tried "conservatism."

Clovis scored points when he recalled a near-death experience while flying in the Air Force.

However, The Iowa Republican didn't have much praise for Ernst or Jacobs who are leading in a recent poll by Suffolk University.

Sources:, The Iowa Republican, Suffolk University