Trump judicial nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen, nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, did not exactly give a convincing performance at his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week. During one particularly brutal exchange with Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), Petersen struggled to define several basic legal terms he would be sure to see often in federal court.
It was painful to watch.
Since the embarrassing episode, Petersen has withdrawn his name from consideration.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the hearing at her Tuesday briefing.
Wasn’t it the administration’s job to make sure all their judicial nominees were prepared? The New York Times certainly thinks so, writing that poor vetting derailed his nomination.
“We are always looking for the best and brightest,” Huckabee Sanders said at the White House, defending their nominating process.
The Trump administration has put through 60 individuals for judicial consideration, three of whom have had to withdraw. That track record is “pretty standard” for any administration, she argued.
The two other nominees who were pressured to bow out of the running were Brett Talley, who was found to have a conflict of interest because his wife works in the Trump White House, not to mention his lack of experience, and Jeff Mateer, who had a history of making some controversial comments.
John Kennedy, the senator who put Petersen in the hot seat last week, told Trump that he needs to get some better advice in terms of filling judicial vacancies.