Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Sen. Kennedy on Trump's judge nominee: I hope they pull him down

Sen. Kennedy on Trump's judge nominee: I hope they pull him down

Petersen's answer was meandering and somewhat evasive.

By now you may have seen the viral video of a Trump judicial nominee awkwardly not being able to answer some pretty basic questions.

Kennedy's quiz, during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation, made Petersen the laughingstock of social media. Beyond his total lack of relevant experience, a clearly rattled Petersen, who is now a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, is unable to answer basic questions involving the mechanics of trials.

"Hoo-boy", Whitehouse wrote in a widely circulated tweet of the exchange, seizing on the moment for maximum political effect. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked if any of the five had "never tried a case to verdict in a courtroom".

Just as importantly, why did nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen not prepare?

Kennedy, a first-term Republican who has challenged some of Trump's previous judicial nominations, bore down.

KENNEDY: Have you ever tried a - taken a deposition by yourself?

"State or federal court?" "Never argued a motion". Federal court? No on both counts.

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE said Friday that he hopes the White House withdraws one of its judicial nominees after the Louisiana Republican grilled him at a hearing this week.

"I have not", answered Petersen.

"All the way through?"

"Yes, I've read your resume", Kennedy replied.

PETERSEN: Sen. Kennedy, I don't have that readily at my disposal but I would be happy to take a closer look at that.

Kennedy cut him off.

"Do you know what a motion in limine is?" queried the senator, referring to a common court motion to request testimony be excluded from a trial.

"Do you know what the Younger abstention doctrine is?"

That said, a lot of these questions are kinda bulls**t.

"Again, my background is not in litigation ..." "I understand that the path that many successful district court judges have taken has been a different one than I have taken".

Kennedy's questions involved basic legal issues that Petersen would confront on a daily basis if confirmed to the federal bench.

"I think he's whip smart, probably", Kennedy said of Petersen. Prior to that, he briefly served as counsel to the RNC as well as counsel to two congressional panels. Since the summer of 2008, he has been one of three Republican commissioners on the six-member Federal Election Commission. Then it turned out that Talley was married to McGahn's chief of staff in the White House counsel's office - a fact he didn't initially disclose to Congress.

Until now, his nomination for the district court has drawn little attention, and Trump's other nominees to the court in Washington have breezed through the confirmation process with bipartisan support. They worked together to weaken enforcement of campaign finance laws, and to try to prevent "dark money" outside groups spending big on elections from being reined in.

The Daubert standard governs the admission of expert evidence.

"I was so shocked and appalled I couldn't believe it", Joel Friedman, a law professor at Tulane University, told the Advocate.

Others put their concerns more bluntly.

Prior to the hearing, Kennedy slammed some of Trump's judicial nominees, saying the president was "getting some very, very bad advice". Kennedy also lambasted Talley over his lack of courtroom experience and prolific posts to an online message board, including some defending the early Klu Klux Klan. Mateer had come under criticism for his extreme views on transgendered children, including a 2015 speech in which he said transgendered children are a sign of "Satan's plan".

No one is accusing Petersen of making controversial or insensitive remarks.

"Any of you blog?"

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