Search This Blog

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Judicial Nominee Cannot Answer Basic Questions

In confirmation hearings this year, nominees to head CEQ and the Department of Education displayed lack of basic  knowledge.

Here comes the would-be judge.Derek Hawkins reports at WP:
Nomination hearings for U.S. district judges tend to be dry affairs that offer little in the way of mass entertainment — in other words, they’re not typically the stuff of viral videos.

But a clip of one of President Trump’s federal judicial nominees struggling to answer rudimentary questions about the law garnered well more than 1 million views in a matter of hours on Thursday night and stoked speculation that another of the president’s nominations might get derailed.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) shared footage of Matthew Petersen, a nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, getting quizzed by Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) on basic aspects of trial procedure during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

For five painfully awkward minutes, Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission and a lawyer with no trial experience, fumbled with Kennedy’s questions, visibly uncomfortable as the lawmaker pressed him about how things work in a federal courtroom.
Josh Feldman at Mediaite:
 By now you may have seen the viral video of a Trump judicial nominee awkwardly not being able to answer some pretty basic questions. The senator grilling him was actually a Republican, Sen. John Kennedy, and he appeared on CNN tonight to talk about this viral moment.
Erin Burnett asked him, “What was going through your head during that questioning?”

Kennedy said he just did his job, and while he went out of his way to note his voting record with the President, he added, “I don’t think that the first time you’ve ever stepped foot in a federal courtroom ought to be as a federal judge.”

He said Matthew Petersen seems like a nice and honest man, but “experience matters, and my job under our separation of power doctrine inspired by Madison is to sort of be a check on nominees.”
 Jonah Engel Bromwich and Niraj Chokshi at NYT:
Mr. Petersen is not the first of Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees to face criticism for being poorly prepared for the bench. At least two other nominations stalled this week amid similar concerns.

One of those was the nomination of Brett Talley, a lawyer who was nominated for a lifetime federal district judgeship despite never having tried a case.

Mr. Talley was the fourth of Mr. Trump’s nominees to be rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association and the second to have received the rating unanimously. Since 1989, only two other judicial nominees have been unanimously deemed “not qualified” by the group.

Mr. Talley failed to disclose that his wife is a senior lawyer in the office of the White House Counsel. And according to Slate, he may have written controversial posts on a message board for fans of the University of Alabama, including one that defended an early incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan.