Dem senator bashes Trump judicial nominee over hearing testimony: 'Hoo-boy'

A Democratic senator mocked one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpIran claims it rejected Trump meeting requests 8 times ESPY host jokes Putin was as happy after Trump summit as Ovechkin winning Stanley Cup Russian ambassador: Trump made ‘verbal agreements’ with Putin MORE's judicial nominees on Thursday, posting video of the nominee struggling to provide answers to a GOP senator's line of questioning.

Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Who is Andrew Wheeler, EPA's new acting chief? Congress can protect midterm elections with the Disclose Act MORE (D-R.I.) posted video of Matthew Spencer Petersen, a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, facing questions during a hearing Wednesday on his nomination to become a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Whitehouse touted the video as a "MUST WATCH," noting that the nominee was unable to answer "basic questions of law" after being asked by Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) about legal procedure.

"Hoo-boy," Whitehouse tweeted.

 

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After asking Petersen and four other nominees in the video whether they had ever "tried a case to verdict," Kennedy narrowed his questioning to Petersen, who admitted he had not.

"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?" Kennedy continued.

"I've heard of it, but again," Petersen responded, trailing off.

"How about the Pullman abstention doctrine?" Kennedy added. Again, Petersen was unable to respond, shaking his head.

Petersen defended his inability to answer the questions in a brief statement, telling Kennedy that he is aware that his path to the nomination for a district judge was unorthodox.

"I haven't had to do a deep dive ... 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," he said.

"I understand that the path many successful district court judges has been a different one than I have taken," Petersen continued, adding that he believed that he was still qualified.

The White House announced this week it would withdraw two controversial judicial nominees opposed by Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting Senate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (R-Iowa), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Those nominees were under fire for controversial statements made in the past, and one had also practiced law for less than three years.