Federal judges are appointed for life, which gives them the greatest possible independence. Under the Constitution, they can only be removed by impeachment.
For that reason, nominations to such posts have always been carefully vetted and, until recently, almost always were screened by an impartial panel of the American Bar Association. Not so with Donald Trump.
This week the media broadcast a painful grilling by a Republican senator of Trump nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen. Petersen admitted that he had never argued a motion before any court. He had never tried any kind of case to a verdict. He had never taken a deposition on his own. He did not know anything about important cases, which significantly limit federal jurisdiction.
The bulk of Petersen’s career after law school appears to have been “practicing” law as a very junior associate in a very big law firm, which often means just carrying the briefcases of senior lawyers. After three years in that position he became a staff lawyer (read, essentially, indoor clerk) for various congressional committees. He later was appointed by “W” Bush to the Federal Election Commission.
It strongly appears that Petersen’s only attraction was loyalty to a conservative political agenda. That should never be the test. President Trump’s nomination of Mr. Peterson was an insult to the entire federal judiciary, to the Constitution, and to the American people.