Back in October, Donald Trump bemoaned the arduous confirmation process faced by his judicial nominees. It shouldn't happen that way. But one of the president's "most qualified people" appeared to hit a roadblock on Wednesday, floundering in the face of questions from senators.
Sen. John Kennedy said Friday that White House nominee Matthew Petersen, who struggled to answer basic questions about the law during his nomination hearing on Wednesday, should be removed from consideration for a position as a United States district judge.
The cringe-worthy video watched by nearly six million people features Matthew Spencer Petersen, nominee for the circuit court of the District of Columbia, revealing an astonishing lack of courtroom experience. John Kennedy (R-LA) simply humiliated one of the potential judges.
Had Petersen ever handled jury trial?
PETERSEN: Sen. Kennedy, I don't have that readily at my disposal but I would be happy to take a closer look at that. "That is not something I've had to contend with", Petersen replied. Kennedy goes on to ask if Peterson has ever taken a deposition, to which Peterson responds that he was "involved" in the taking of some depositions as a junior associate immediately after law school-which, as a former junior associate myself, I can confirm means that he sat quietly in the corner of a stuffy conference room, took very occasional notes, and tried desperately not to fall asleep. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked if any of the five had "never tried a case to verdict in a courtroom". That is not something I've had to contend with.
Petersen now serves on the Federal Election Commission as a commissioner and was one of five Trump nominees testifying at a confirmation hearing Wednesday.
"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. At first Petersen said yes, he knew what it was.
"I understand the challenge that would be ahead of me if I were fortunate enough to become a district court judge", Petersen said. Daubert is hardly an obscure standard and to have no clue how to describe a motion in limine is downright embarrassing.
"I think he's whip smart, probably", Kennedy said of Petersen. "Seems like FEC Commissioner Petersen may not be leaving the FEC for the federal district court after all", wrote University of California at Irvine professor Rick Hasen.
Prior to the hearing, Kennedy slammed some of Trump's judicial nominees, saying the president was "getting some very, very bad advice".
The White House said this week it would withdraw Talley's nomination and that of Jeff Mateer, who has made controversial statements about transgender children.
One point in Petersen's favor is that he shook his head "no" when Sen.