A judicial nominee put forward by President Donald Trump struggled as he offered testimony about his experience on Wednesday, having trouble answering even basic legal questions that were asked by GOP Sen. John Kennedy. Matthew Spencer Petersen, the nominee, currently serves as a Federal Election Commission commissioner and is up for a US District Court seat.
[Scroll down for video]
Kennedy questioned Petersen about his lack of trial-related experience as well as the number of depositions he’d actually worked on, which, according to a report by CNN, was only five.
Additionally, Petersen was asked to recall the last time he had read the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to which he replied that he couldn’t remember.
The seat Petersen has been nominated for is in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
During questioning, Petersen had to repeatedly admit that his “background was not in litigation,” even though the role he is speaking is based on such proceedings.
Petersen stated, “I understand the challenge that would be ahead of me if I were fortunate enough to become a district court judge.”
The testimony has garnered a significant amount of attention on social media. Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted video footage of the event, saying, “MUST WATCH: @SenJohnKennedy asks one of @realDonaldTrump’s US District Judge Nominees basic questions of law & he can’t answer a single one. Hoo-boy.”
Petersen’s testimony was preceded by a narrow confirmation of one of Trump’s other judicial nominees after an on party-line vote of 50 to 48 was cast. Leonard Steven Grasz was confirmed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals even though he was given a “not qualified” rating by the American Bar Association.
Republican Senators Thad Cochran and John McCain did not vote on Grasz’s confirmation.
An additional nominee, Brett Talley, had his nomination withdrawn after the American Bar Association rated him as “not qualified.” He was originally nominated by Trump for a position as a district judge in Alabama.
The nomination of Jeff Mateer, who was up for a Texas district court seat, was also withdrawn after comments emerged where Mateer referred to transgender children as being part of “Satan’s plan.”
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017