Before being nominated by President Trump for a lifetime federal judgeship in September, 36-year-old Brett Talley had only practiced law for three years and has never tried a case. Aside from his questionable credentials, there’s no debate about Talley’s political views.
As The Washington Post points out, Talley, who moonlights as a horror novel author, once authored a blog post titled, “A Call to Arms: It’s Time to Join the National Rifle Association.” The post was notable since it was authored just about a month after the Sandy Hook school massacre. In a tweet from his personal Twitter account (which has since been made private), he wrote, “Hillary Rotten Clinton might be the best Trumpism yet.” Along with his lack of experience, it’s this level of partisanship that has drawn scrutiny over his nomination.
Either way, Talley is one step closer to becoming federal district judge in his home state of Alabama after the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee pushed his nomination on to a full vote in the Senate. This in spite of the fact that he’s been rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.
From The Washington Post:
The vote on Talley’s nomination comes as Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continue to intensify efforts to place conservative jurists, some of whom are young, on the federal bench. As Trump said as he stood next to McConnell during a news conference in October, the judicial nominations are the “untold” success stories of his presidency.
According to Sen. Charles E. Grassley, (R-IA), Talley’s lack of “extensive trial experience” doesn’t matter.
“Mr. Talley has a wide breadth of various legal experience that has helped to expose him to different aspects of federal law and the issues that would come before him,” Grassley said.
Nevertheless, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Panel hammered Talley over his qualifications.
“Your overall qualifications and preparation for becoming a lifetime-appointed federal judge are a concern to me,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.) told him, according to WaPo.
“How can you claim to be qualified for a lifetime appointment to supervise federal trials on a daily basis when you have never yourself tried a single case?” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) asked. “Do you think it is advisable to put people with literally no trial experience on the federal district court bench?”
But according to Talley, there are many other avenues of law that can give one the experience needed for a lifetime federal judgeship.
“Federal judges come to the bench from a variety of legal backgrounds, each with something to learn and something to contribute,” Talley wrote in response to the scrutiny. “I have worked in all three branches of the federal government, in state government, and in private practice.”
Before the Trump administration, the American Bar Association had only ruled two nominees as unqualified since 1989. Since Trump was elected, the organization has rated four of Trump’s judicial picks as unqualified.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore (Flickr)