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Tipsheet

A Top Dem Offered This Defense for a Biden Nominee Stumped By Basic Questions. It's Not Good.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool

Julio covered this last week, but one of Joe Biden’s judicial nominees, who is heinously unqualified, will probably be confirmed. It’s a painful clip to watch. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) is quizzing Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren, who was nominated for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, about fundamental questions about the Constitution, namely, what does Article II mean? That’s after she got stumped about Article V:

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Bjelkengren got her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law. 

"Judge, tell me what Article V of the Constitution does?" Kennedy asked. 

"Article V is not coming to mind at the moment," Bjelkengren replied after a long pause.

"How about Article II?" Kennedy followed up. 

"Neither is Article II," said Bjelkengren.

These are rudimentary questions that anyone who’s a judge should nail with ease. Judge Bjelkengren was a ‘deer in the headlights.’ Still, she has powerful allies in the Senate, like Dick Durbin of Illinois, chair of the Judiciary Committee and Majority Whip, who assured the media that Bjelkengren would be confirmed because he doesn’t know the answer to these questions either. 

“The honest answer is, there aren’t many members of the Judiciary Committee who can answer all those questions,” Durbin said. Kennedy's response to all of this was on point: "If you want to be an auto mechanic, you gotta know what a spark plug is.”

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Is this an unintentional boomerang hit, Dick? 


‘Since no one knows the Constitution here, especially my party—Bjelkengren makes for the perfect judge for the Eastern District of Washington.’ Is that what’s inferred here? 

I’m not one to tell you that’s not a defense. And you know this exchange between Bjelkengren and Kennedy was bad when NBC News had to write about the Louisiana Republican stumping her. 

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Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor to voice his displeasure over this nomination since this woman is a trainwreck. To be fair, this isn’t just a Democratic Party problem. Matthew Petersen, a Trump nominee, was equally unqualified for the vacancy he was nominated to fill. He had the good sense to withdraw his name, however.


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