Matthew Spencer Petersen, a Trump judicial nominee who became a laughingstock after he was unable to define basic legal vocabulary words during his confirmation hearing, has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration for a federal judgeship. “However, I am no stranger to political realities, and I do not wish to be a continued distraction from the important work of your Administration and the Senate.”
Two other nominations were also recently scuttled after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley raised objections to them. This is good news if you don’t like the idea of President Donald Trump filling the bench.
It is not a reason for Trump’s opponents to grow complacent – or to think that they will have less of a battle ahead of them when Trump is long gone but his judicial appointments continue to shape American law.
It is tempting to assume, because Trump is a poster child for government incompetence and many of his high-level appointees appear similarly unprepared for their jobs, that unqualified nominees like Petersen and Talley are the rule among Trump’s judges.
The reality is that most of Trump’s nominees are extraordinarily intelligent, well-credentialed ideologues in the vein of Neil Gorsuch.