Embarrassing testimony by judicial nominee proves not everyone can be a judge

A nominee for the federal bench, Matthew Spencer Petersen, made a fool of himself during his confirmation hearing when he proved himself unable to answer basic questions about the law and testified he had never tried any case in any court.

Louisiana GOP senator John Kennedy tossed Peterson softball questions that anyone familiar with the law and with the experience necessary to be a federal judge should have been able to answer.  

Yikes:

MUST WATCH: Republican @SenJohnKennedy asks one of @realDonaldTrump's US District Judge nominees basic questions of law & he can't answer a single one. Hoo-boy. pic.twitter.com/fphQx2o1rc

— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017

Petersen is currently a commissioner on the FEC whose only experience with the law was as an associate with a law firm where he worked after law school.

CNN:

Petersen's testimony followed the narrow confirmation of another one of the president's judicial nominees, Leonard Steven Grasz, to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals despite the fact that he had received a "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.

The White House said earlier this week that it would withdraw the nomination of Brett Talley who was also unanimously rated by the ABA as "not qualified." He was originally nominated to serve as a district judge in Alabama. The administration is also withdrawing the name of Jeff Mateer, who was up for a seat on the district court in Texas, following comments that have surfaced where he called transgender children part of "Satan's plan."

Grasz became the first nominee unanimously judged "not qualified" by the ABA to be confirmed.  Petersen, and three other Trump judicial nominees, have also been declared "not qualified" by the bar association.

The ABA has been given enormous power over judging judicial nominees.  And there is no doubt that the bar organization is stacked with liberals.  But since 1989, when the Senate started to ask the ABA for its recommendations, only four nominees unanimously received "not qualified" recommendations.  Two were nominated by George W. Bush, who withdrew the nominations, and two now by Donald Trump.

In Trump's defense, he is an outsider who is wholly dependent on outside conservative groups and members of congress for judicial recommendations:

Part of the problem here is that Trump is flying through judicial nominations without much vetting, and he's not submitting his potential court picks to the ABA before he announces their nominations. Most presidents have waited for the ABA rating to come out before officially announcing a nominee, in part to save face in the event one of their nominees gets a particularly bad rating. Former President Barack Obama, for example, didn't nominate any of his potential court picks who got an unqualified ABA rating.

"No president has so quickly nominated so many troubling nominees," said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor and expert on judicial nominations. "Bad process can make for bad judges, and these are life-tenured posts."

Laura Ingraham called Petersen's testimony a "viral video nightmare."  That's about the kindest thing you can say about it.  It just goes to show that not everyone can be a federal judge.

Mr. Petersen can now crawl back to the FEC, where he will enjoy much deserved anonymity.

A nominee for the federal bench, Matthew Spencer Petersen, made a fool of himself during his confirmation hearing when he proved himself unable to answer basic questions about the law and testified he had never tried any case in any court.

Louisiana GOP senator John Kennedy tossed Peterson softball questions that anyone familiar with the law and with the experience necessary to be a federal judge should have been able to answer.  

Yikes:

MUST WATCH: Republican @SenJohnKennedy asks one of @realDonaldTrump's US District Judge nominees basic questions of law & he can't answer a single one. Hoo-boy. pic.twitter.com/fphQx2o1rc

— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017

Petersen is currently a commissioner on the FEC whose only experience with the law was as an associate with a law firm where he worked after law school.

CNN:

Petersen's testimony followed the narrow confirmation of another one of the president's judicial nominees, Leonard Steven Grasz, to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals despite the fact that he had received a "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.

The White House said earlier this week that it would withdraw the nomination of Brett Talley who was also unanimously rated by the ABA as "not qualified." He was originally nominated to serve as a district judge in Alabama. The administration is also withdrawing the name of Jeff Mateer, who was up for a seat on the district court in Texas, following comments that have surfaced where he called transgender children part of "Satan's plan."

Grasz became the first nominee unanimously judged "not qualified" by the ABA to be confirmed.  Petersen, and three other Trump judicial nominees, have also been declared "not qualified" by the bar association.

The ABA has been given enormous power over judging judicial nominees.  And there is no doubt that the bar organization is stacked with liberals.  But since 1989, when the Senate started to ask the ABA for its recommendations, only four nominees unanimously received "not qualified" recommendations.  Two were nominated by George W. Bush, who withdrew the nominations, and two now by Donald Trump.

In Trump's defense, he is an outsider who is wholly dependent on outside conservative groups and members of congress for judicial recommendations:

Part of the problem here is that Trump is flying through judicial nominations without much vetting, and he's not submitting his potential court picks to the ABA before he announces their nominations. Most presidents have waited for the ABA rating to come out before officially announcing a nominee, in part to save face in the event one of their nominees gets a particularly bad rating. Former President Barack Obama, for example, didn't nominate any of his potential court picks who got an unqualified ABA rating.

"No president has so quickly nominated so many troubling nominees," said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor and expert on judicial nominations. "Bad process can make for bad judges, and these are life-tenured posts."

Laura Ingraham called Petersen's testimony a "viral video nightmare."  That's about the kindest thing you can say about it.  It just goes to show that not everyone can be a federal judge.

Mr. Petersen can now crawl back to the FEC, where he will enjoy much deserved anonymity.

RECENT VIDEOS