Someone needs to check on the White House. Not only did the administration nominate a comically under-qualified judicial nominee, it appears they don’t even know the makeup of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Before that body on Wednesday, Matthew Spencer Petersen displayed ignorance and inexperience so surprising that the district court nominee’s hearing went viral.
Had he taken a deposition? No. Had he tried a case in a courtroom? No. A jury trial, a civil trial, or a criminal trial? No, no, and no. Did he know about the Daubert standard, the Younger abstention doctrine, or the Pullman abstention doctrine? No, no, and no again.
One doesn’t need a legal mind or degree (I certainly don’t have either), to cringe at the exchange and feel just a little bit bad for Petersen. All of us have had a job interview go bad. Few of us have had it televised on C-SPAN then bounced throughout the world via the Internet. Thankfully for the embarrassed attorney, someone else has made an even more embarrassing gaffe.
Asked about the exchange by CNN, White House Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said it’s "no surprise the president’s opponents keep trying to distract" from his other judicial successes.
The only problem? John Kennedy, the Louisiana senator who put the president’s nominee through the ringer, is a Republican. What’s more, he is a longtime practicing attorney. He is a Trump supporter. And he has gone to the mat for the president’s nominees numerous times before.
An opponent of the administration? Not so much. An opponent of under-qualified judicial nominees? Absolutely.