Before you praise GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana for exposing an unqualified Trump judicial pick, you should know something about him.
On Thursday night, the Senate Judiciary Committee held another rapid-fire hearing to confirm Donald Trump’s extremist judicial nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal courts.
Things did not go so well for Matthew Spencer Petersen, chairman of the Federal Election Commission and Trump’s choice for a D.C. district court judge seat.
A viral video shows Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy asking Petersen a series of questions about basic legal procedures — and Petersen failing to answer a single one of them.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 15, 2017
The questioning revealed that Petersen had never tried a case in any court; had never argued a motion in any court; had taken fewer than five depositions in his entire career; had not read the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which he would have to know backward and forward and enforce if he were appointed to the district court, since law school; and was completely unfamiliar with motions in limine, which are a basic part of any trial.
While the exchange was clearly a humiliation for Trump’s profoundly unqualified nominee, Kennedy does not deserve brownie points for his performance, for one simple reason: He has voted for every single one of Trump’s nominees who came up for a vote.
Many of the nominees Kennedy rubber-stamped were people he questioned just as aggressively, and were just as unqualified. For instance, he voted to confirm John Bush to the Sixth Circuit, despite saying that he was “not impressed” by a far-right birther blog that nominee had run.
So far, the only Trump nominee Kennedy ever said he would actually refuse to vote for was KKK-sympathizing “ghost hunter” Brett Talley, who was so unqualified Trump ended up withdrawing him.
In a hearing two weeks ago, Kennedy more or less admitted he is being pressured into voting for Trump’s nominees, and his voting record gives no reason to think that will cease.
Under Trump, it is more important to watch what Republicans do than what they say. Kennedy talks a tough game on Trump’s judges, but when it really matters, he falls in line.