June 23, 2018

Sen. Kennedy on Trump judicial nominee: 'He has no litigation experience.'

19 December 2017, 09:12 | Lionel James

Trump judicial nominee drops out after hearing

Trump Judicial Nominee Drops Out After Embarrassing Hearing

In his letter of withdrawal, obtained from the administration, Petersen said, "I had hoped that my almost two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television".

Trump accepted Matthew Petersen's offer to withdraw his nomination as a district court judge in Washington, a White House official said.

"Donald Trump and his allies knew exactly what they were getting when Matthew Petersen was nominated: someone who would help him rig the game for powerful interests. However, I am no stranger to political realities, and I do not wish to be continued distraction from the important work of your administration and the Senate".

At the hearing, Mr Peterson stumbled over questions asked by Republican Senator John Kennedy.

A member of the Federal Election Commission, Petersen saw his prospects of a career on the bench derailed by a hearing in which he was questioned, and ultimately humiliated by a lawmaker from his own party. That record of giving more control of our government to the powerful at the expense of all Americans is why Trump nominated him in the first place. Secondly, Kennedy was one of the Senate Republicans who warned the White House about serious issues surrounding nominee, Brett Talley of Alabama, as to his truthfulness and inexperience for the federal bench. But Petersen's lack of qualifications were painfully on display last week as Sen.

When Kennedy asked Petersen to define the Daubert standard, which governs the admission of expert evidence, Petersen replied, "I don't have that readily at my disposal".

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Do you think federal judges should be required to have trial experience?

Petersen said he was "involved" in taking a deposition, but would "be struggling to remember" how many. There have been six district court judges, 12 circuit court judge and one Supreme Court justice confirmed by the Senate since Trump took office.

It doesn't sound like the president cares if a few of his nominees go down.

"I would probably not be able to give you a good definition", Petersen responded.

Kennedy said Trump has also told him that he's counting on senators to reject his bad judicial picks. Frankly, I do not share Mr. Petersen's views on certain facets of campaign finance regulation, but I can say without reservation that he is a thoughtful and ethical decision-maker who has considerable ability to analyze statutes, weigh facts, synthesize jurisprudence and apply a complicated regulatory regime.

This post has been updated with White House confirmation of the withdrawal and with details from Petersen's letter.

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