Trump judicial nominee struggles with basic legal knowledge during hearing

Federal judicial nominee has never tried a case, can't answer basic legal questions

Sen. Kennedy reacts to criticism of viral video questioning the president's judicial nominee

"MUST WATCH", wrote Whitehouse, a former U.S. Attorney.

Matthew Spencer Petersen is now a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission. John Kennedy (R-La.) has been viewed on Twitter more than 4.4 million times. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked if any of the nominees on the panel had "not tried a case to verdict in a courtroom?"

Petersen is the only one to raise his hand. Has he ever tried a jury trial?

"I have not", the nominee responded. "I have not." Civil, criminal, or bench?

Sen. Kennedy: State or federal court?

How many depositions had he taken - fewer than five?

"My background is not in litigation", Petersen said. You'll see that a lot in federal court. Petersen: "I heard of it". The rules are amended and republished every year. "Well, comprehensively, would have been in law school", Petersen said. John Kennedy (R-LA) is nearly unbearable to watch, as Petersen tells the committee that he is unfamiliar with many standards and rules for judges and caselaw for the position he's seeking to hold. "But I would be happy to take a closer look at that". "Do you know what a motion in limine is", he asked.

A motion in limine is, by the way, a request filed by a party to a lawsuit which asks the court for an order or ruling limiting or preventing certain evidence from being presented by the other side at the trial of the case.

Then Kennedy began to ask pointed questions about law.

"The thing I thought was much more troubling about the back-and-forth was the lack of preparation and basic understanding of pretty basic legal concepts", she said. He was originally nominated to serve as a district judge in Alabama.

Kennedy zoomed in on Petersen. Later he added: "I would probably not be able to give you a good definition".

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"In the past year, I have supported almost every one of President Trump's picks, but I don't blindly support them", Senator Kennedy said in a statement.

The confirmation hearing of a judicial nominee is getting way more attention than such a hearing typically would, for the wrong reasons.

When video of the interrogation made its way online, several high profile law professors tweeted their surprise. He earned a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1999.

Petersen: The Federal Rules of Evidence all the way through?

Petersen's testimony followed the narrow confirmation of another one of the president's judicial nominees, Leonard Steven Grasz, to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals despite the fact that he had received a "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.

This is not the first time lawmakers have had questions about the president's judicial nominees. Democrats had objected to his nomination from the beginning, noting that he had never served as a judge nor tried a case. The administration is also withdrawing the name of Jeff Mateer, who was up for a seat on the district court in Texas, following comments that have surfaced where he called transgender children part of "Satan's plan".

No one is accusing Petersen of making controversial or insensitive remarks.

Mr. Kennedy obliquely referred to that report at the end of his questioning, asking whether any of the nominees before him had ever blogged in support of the Ku Klux Klan. Okay. Any of you blog?

Matthew Spencer Petersen has endured a far worse job interview than you've ever had.

Petersen and the other panelists shook their heads no.

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