Recently, President Trump nominated Matthew Petersen as a district court nominee. Petersen was being considered for a lifetime appointment for the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
Last week, however, a video of Petersen at his confirmation hearing went viral for one reason: he could not answer several of the legal questions that were asked. The hearing was with Senator John Kennedy (R).
Sen. Kennedy asked Petersen about the number of depositions and jury trials that he had been a part of and about his familiarity with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Petersen had difficulty answering the questions and admitted that his "background was not in litigation." He said that a lot of his work with the Federal Rules of Procedure took place in law school. He acknowledged that he would have his work cut out for him if he were chosen as a judge.
After the hearing, Sen. Kennedy told CNN, "I'm hoping the White House will pull down Mr. Petersen. I don't wanna see him suffer. I think he's whip smart, probably. But you can't just walk into a federal courthouse for the very first time and say, 'Here I am, I think I wanna be a judge.' It just doesn't work that way."
Below is the video:
The video began circulating when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) from Rhode Island tweeted a link to it. Petersen began receiving extreme criticism over his answers, and many people scolded President Trump for nominating someone who did not seem prepared for the task at hand.
Amid the intense criticism, the White House spoke out. Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, issued a statement on Friday. Gidley noted that the nominee currently serves on the Federal Election Commission as a commissioner and has spent over two decades in public service.
Gidley said, "Mr. Petersen has spent nearly a decade as a commissioner of an important federal agency overseeing its litigation on regulatory issues- the very kinds of issues federal district court in DC decides. It is no surprise the President's opponents keep trying to distract from the record-setting success the President has had on judicial nominations, which includes a Supreme Court justice and 12 outstanding circuit judges in his first year."
Despite the White House's support of Petersen, the nominee has decided that he has had enough. On Monday, CNN reported that Petersen has withdrawn his nomination.
The commissioner wrote a letter to President Trump to inform him of his decision. He said that he is "no stranger to political realities" and did not wish to be a "continued distraction" to the administration.
He said, "I had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service would carry more weight than my worst two minutes on television."
President Trump has yet to comment on his nominee's withdrawal. Let us know what you think about this. In other recent news, a top appeal court judge just announced his resignation after harassment claims.