Brett J. Talley, Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in Alabama, posted anonymous defenses of Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest to an online message board. Senate Republicans unanimously advanced him out of committee.
The unanimous decision of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance Donald Trump’s judicial nominee Brett J. Talley to a full Senate vote is looking worse by the day.
Talley, who is up for a lifetime appointment to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, is laughably unfit. He has never served as a judge or tried a single case. He received a unanimous “Not Qualified” rating from the American Bar Association.
On his Senate questionnaire, he wrote that he has a passion for investigating “paranormal activity” and failed to disclose he is married to a White House lawyer and witness in the Russia investigation — a massive conflict of interest.
But that is not even the worst part. Investigative journalists have now uncovered an online message board persona he used, and among a great deal else, he defended the “first KKK.”
BuzzFeed first identified the handle belonging to Talley, “BamainBoston,” which Talley used for years to post about politics to a sports message board at the University of Alabama. Among other things, he called Roe v. Wade and Miranda rights “indefensible” and said the solution to the Sandy Hook shooting would be for our “society of pansies” to “man up.” Talley failed to disclose this account on his Senate questionnaire, which is itself problematic.
But perhaps the worst thing Talley posted as BamainBoston — unearthed by Slate — is his defense of the original KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest:
Heaven forbid we let the facts get in the way of your righteous indignation, but Forrest, when he decommissioned his men, told them to make peace with the men they had fought and live as good citizens of the United States. It was only after the perceived depredations of the Union army during reconstruction that Forrest joined (it is highly unlikely that he founded or acted as the Grand Wizard) the first KKK, which was entirely different than the KKK of the early 19th Century. When the Klan turned to racial violence, he distanced himself from the organization as he had long supported the reconciliation of the races. In fact, he often spoke to black organizations.
Most of this is false. Forrest committed brutal war crimes against black soldiers, and he in fact is broadly agreed to have been the first Grand Wizard of the Klan, during which the group practiced widespread white supremacist terrorism against freed slaves and the “Radical Republicans.”
For Talley to either lie about or not know this should be instantly disqualifying as a federal judge.
If Senate Republicans could claim ignorance before, due to Talley omitting information on his questionnaire, they certainly cannot now. He still requires confirmation by the full Senate, and any Republican who has enough scruples not to give a rubber stamp to a KKK sympathizer should speak out now — before he is given life tenure over our nation’s laws.