Bar Association dubs fourth Trump judicial nominee unqualified


The American Bar Association (ABA) has deemed a fourth judicial nominee of President Trump unqualified for the job. 

The powerful legal organization’s standing committee unanimously dubbed Brett Talley, a Justice Department lawyer, not qualified to hold the judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, for which Trump has tapped him.

In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released late Tuesday, the committee said that it did not have any concerns with Talley’s “integrity or temperament,” but that he lacked the “requisite experience.”


“In sum, although Mr. Talley does not, at this point, have the requisite experience, the Committee believes that, given the passage of time and the appropriate experience, Mr. Talley has great potential to serve as a federal judge,” the letter reads.

Talley has drawn some scrutiny for his online presence. He authored a 2013 blog post calling on readers to “join the National Rifle Association” and calling gun control legislation rolled out after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School “the greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime.”

Talley is the second federal judicial nominee tapped by Trump to be unanimously labeled not qualified by the ABA committee. The panel also deemed Leonard Steven Grasz, whom Trump nominated to a judgeship on the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, not qualified late last month, with one member abstaining.

In a statement issued at the time, the standing committee questioned Grasz’s ability to apply the law fairly. 

“In sum, the evaluators and the Committee found that temperament issues, particularly bias and lack of open-mindedness, were problematic,” the statement reads. “The evaluators found that the people interviewed believed that the nominee’s bias and the lens through which he viewed his role as a judge colored his ability to judge fairly.”

A majority of the panel’s members also voted to deem unqualified Charles Barnes Goodwin, a nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, and Holly Lou Teeter, a nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. In another letter released late Tuesday, the committee said Teeter lacked the necessary experience to serve as a federal judge, but that it was not concerned about her temperament or integrity.

The ABA has long provided evaluations of prospective nominees to lower federal courts for the White House — a tradition first set under President Eisenhower. 

The Trump White House notified the panel in March, however, that the president did not intend to follow that precedent, but that the committee is welcome to provide the evaluations after nominees are tapped.

Updated on Nov. 8, 2017 at 2:43 p.m.

Tags American Bar Association American Bar Association Chuck Grassley Dianne Feinstein

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