Last week, Trump’s latest judicial nominee made a fool of himself after failing to answer even a single basic legal question in a line of questioning by Senator Kennedy (R-LA). The video has since gone viral.
In a new development, the nominee, Matthew Petersen, has officially withdrawn from consideration.
Trump, for his part, has accepted Petersen’s withdrawal.
While Petersen boldly claimed that he is still qualified to sit on a federal bench, despite his glaring lack of knowledge about what the venture actually entails, he at least conceded that his nomination has become a distraction.
“I had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television. However, I am no stranger to political realities, and I do not wish to be a continued distraction from the important work of your Administration and the Senate,” he wrote.
NEW: Matthew Petersen, Trump judicial nominee questioned before Senate Judiciary Committee last week, withdraws, writing, "My nomination has become a distraction." pic.twitter.com/b35bUEexcb
— ABC News (@ABC) December 18, 2017
During a nightmarish hearing, Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) asks the President’s latest U.S. District Judge nominee basic questions about law. Matthew Spencer Petersen fails miserably in answering even a single question.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017
Kennedy honed in on Petersen when he alerted the panel that he was the only nominee who had never even brought a case to trial. The Louisiana Senator quizzed the nominee on several simple definitions.
“Do you know what a motion in limine is?” Kennedy asked.
“I would probably not be able to give you a good definition,” Petersen responded.
“Do you know what the Younger abstention doctrine is?”
“I’ve heard of it, but again…” Petersen responded.
“How about the Pullman abstention doctrine?”
Petersen again failed to answer.
“I haven’t had to do a deep dive,” he said, defending himself. “And I understand, and I appreciate this line of questioning, I understand the challenge that would be ahead of me if I were fortunate enough to be named a district court judge. I understand that the path many successful district court judges has been a different one than I have taken.”
They were successful, of course, in that they had a basic command of the job for which they applied.
Petersen is only the latest in a long line of unqualified judicial nominees from the Trump administration. Earlier this week, the White House was forced to withdraw two controversial judges when even the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) opposed them.
Of those two nominees, Brett Talley, 36, had been practicing law for just over two years and had never tried a case in court. He was also the author of a controversial far-right blog and was deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.
The other nominee, Jeff Mateer, was also deemed “not qualified” and had previously equated homosexuality to bestiality.
Trump may have promised to choose only “the best people” while on the campaign trail. As President, however, it seems that he’s scraping the bottom of the barrel.