Friday, December 15, 2017

I vaguely remember something about motions and lemons from law school

Matthew Spencer Petersen was nominated by President Trump to be a federal district judge for the District of Columbia. He is currently the head of the Federal Election Committee, having been nominated for that post by President George W. Bush.

Prior to serving as head of the FEC, Mr. Petersen served as the Republican chief counsel to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Prior to that he served as counsel for the Committee on House Administration. From 1999 until 2002 he practiced election and campaign finance law at Wiley Rein LLP in D.C.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Petersen has never tried a case before a jury. He has never tried a case to a verdict. He has never argued a motion in court. But that's not even the best part.

This week he was one of five nominees to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings on their nominations. Each senator was given a grand total of five minutes to ask the nominees questions on their qualifications to serve on the federal bench.

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) made the most of his time. He asked Mr. Petersen a series of fairly innocuous questions about legal procedure that a judge would be expected to know. The result was, on the one hand, hilarious as a lawyer nominated for a judgeship tells a senator that he knows next to nothing about the law. On the other hand, it is quite disturbing to think that people who are as unqualified as Mr. Petersen could sit as a judge for life making decisions that affect everyday folks.

Here is the video. Have a great afternoon.

A special shout out to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-RI) for posting this video on his Twitter feed.

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