UPDATED: 2:25 p.m. EDT, Dec. 18 — The federal judge nominee who didn’t know the answers to basic legal questions during his confirmation hearing last week has removed his name from consideration for the post, according to CNN. Matthew Spencer Petersen, who was nominated by the president, came under bipartisan fire in part for failing to answer a routine line of questioning from Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy.
The White House made the announcement Monday afternoon, though it conveniently failed to mention why Petersen withdrew his name from the president’s nomination.
President Trump has been busy nominating nothing but White men to the nation’s federal court system. The judges confirmed for the positions serve lifetime terms.
But wait, it gets worse.
NewsOne has already reported at length how President Trump has only nominated White men to the federal bench, but perhaps more alarmingly is the fact that at least one of the nominees is apparently completely unqualified for the job.
Remember all the hubbub about Trump’s replacement for former President Barack Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court? Well, Matthew Spencer Petersen, who was nominated for a seat with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, made Neil Gorsuch look like Thurgood Marshall while he was being questioned during his confirmation hearing Thursday.
Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy appeared to be asking Petersen standard, boilerplate questions for such a hearing, but the commissioner on the Federal Election Commission who was appointed by President George W. Bush couldn’t answer any of them. In fact, Peterson admitted he had never even tried a civil, criminal trial with a jury either in state or federal court, which are requirements for to be a U.S. District Court judge.
Watch the debacle unfold below.
Petersen is not alone.
Trump has also nominated Brett Talley, a Ku Klux Klan sympathizer who, according to The Boston Globe “has practiced law for only three years and has yet to try a case,” for a federal judicial seat in Alabama.
As egregious as it sounds, the writing was scrawled on the wall since before 45 was ever elected. As the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Trump provided a glimpse of his judiciary oversight when he released his list of all-White and mostly male Supreme Court nominees.
It’s easy to laugh off this mess as another instance of ineptitude coming from the White House, but the stakes are high. Trump is orchestrating the reversal of a decades-long trend toward judicial diversity that will have long term consequences “where the courts are not a place people can go and vindicate their civil rights,” senior policy counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Kyle Barry told the Associated Press last month.