Summary: Trump’s latest judicial nominee stumbled to answer basic legal questions in a video that has gone viral.
Job interviews can be tough and sometimes humiliating. But for Trump’s recent Judicial Nominee, his interview may point out a flaw in the White House–that the president in his rush to fill judicial openings with conservatives may not be picking qualified individuals for these important roles.
Matthew Peterson, a member of the Federal Election Commission, has been nominated to fill a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. A seat that CNN calls “one of the nation’s most important federal courts.” On Wednesday, he was interviewed by Republican Senator John Kennedy during a confirmation hearing, and things went downhill quickly.
Kennedy asked Peterson if he had ever tried a case in court. The University of Virginia Law graduate said, “I have not,” and Kennedy’s subsequent questions revealed Peterson knew very little about the law.
“Have you ever tried a jury trial?” Kennedy asked, in a conversation transcribed by NPR.
“I have not,” Petersen said.
“State or federal court?”
“I have not.”
Peterson then confessed that he had only taken five depositions in his career and did not know what the “Daubert standard” or a “motion in limine” was. Peterson tried to sell himself as someone who may not be exposed to those aspects at his current job but was up for the challenge.
“I understand the challenge that would be ahead of me if I were fortunate enough to become a district court judge,” Peterson said during the interview.
The uncomfortable exchange soon went viral online, and it came after three other Trump picks were deemed unqualified for their positions.
Leonard Steven Grasz was nominated by Trump to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the American Bar Association had rated him “not qualified.”
The ABA also said Trump’s other pick, Brett Talley, was “not qualified” and the White House said earlier this week that they would withdraw the Talley nomination. According to AL.com, Talley was up for a judgeship in Alabama, but he was a controversial choice because of his online comments about hunting for ghosts and the KKK. When his nomination was withdrawn, the NAACP expressed their satisfaction with the decision.
“We’ve spent months raising alarms about Trump’s unqualified and inexperienced choices for the federal bench, including Brett Talley,” Todd A. Cox from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. stated to AL.com. “Talley was not only found unanimously not qualified by the nonpartisan ABA, but he also failed to disclose his marriage to the White House Counsel’s chief of staff, as well as thousands of online posts he authored, including one defending the ‘first KKK.'”
Trump’s other judicial pick, Jeff Mateer, had his nomination withdrawn by the White House after an anti-transgender comment surfaced.
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