Matthew Spencer Peterson, selected by President Trump to serve a lifetime term as a federal judge, has withdrawn his nomination from consideration after he was unable to answer basic legal questions during a Senate hearing last week.
It marked the third time that one of Trump's judicial nominees has failed to make the cut because of their lack of qualifications. Just the other day, the administration withdrew the nominations of Brent J. Talley, who had never tried a case and was labeled as unqualified by the American Bar Association, and Jeff Mateer, who along with Talley, was reported to have endorsed positions or groups that endorse discrimination.
I earlier wrote about Talley and his penchant for chasing ghosts and blogging in support of the KKK. Read that post here.
Peterson's performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee was particularly painful as he was questioned by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) about several basic legal issues that would likely come up in his work as a federal judge. It was like watching a college kid who had failed to do his homework being grilled by his all-knowing professor.
Kennedy was gentle in his questioning, but persistent. Peterson just couldn't answer. He stumbled and stammered and looked like an idiot. A graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, Peterson has been a member of the Federal Election Commission since 2008, but has no trial experience.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) posted the video of the questioning on Twitter. It went viral, and today it was reported that Peterson sent a letter to Trump withdrawing his nomination.
“While I am honored to have been nominated for this position, it has become clear to me over the past few days that my nomination has become a distraction — and that is not fair to you or your Administration,” Petersen wrote . “I had hoped my nearly two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television. However, I am no stranger to political realities, and I do not wish to be a continued distraction from the important work of your administration and the Senate.”
As has been reported, even the Republicans appear to be disgusted with the level of nominees being put forward by Trump for federal judgeships. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the crusty chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had urged the administration to withdraw both the Talley and Mateer nominations.
So much for bringing "only the best" people to government, as Trump had promised during his campaign for the Presidency. So much for "draining the swamp."