Trump Nominates Man with Less Courtroom Experience than Me for U.S. District Judge

Meet Matthew Spencer Petersen:

Mr. Petersen heads the Federal Election Commission’s legal team and has some experience with election law.  But in the video above, you’ll see that under questioning, he revealed that:

  1. He’s never tried a case to completion in either state or federal court
  2. He’s never even argued a motion in either state or federal court
  3. He doesn’t even know what certain motions are
  4. He hasn’t read the Federal Rules of Evidence since law school
  5. He hasn’t read the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure since… well, he didn’t actually even answer that one

President Trump submitted this man to the Senate for confirmation as a United States District Judge, a lifetime appointment to an extraordinarily powerful position.  A U.S. District Judge has the authority to issue restraining orders against the federal government, decide death penalty cases, and safeguard (or disregard) constitutional rights.

Yet the man that Trump wants to have the job has never been a judge.  He’s almost never been in a courtroom.  This man is utterly unqualified, and to make the point, this year I — as a law student — can answer all of those questions more favorably than he can.  I’m in no way qualified to be a U.S. District Judge, but this appointment is merely a joke that’s not funny.

If you didn’t hear about Mr. Petersen, perhaps it’s because you watch Fox News, which reported the hearing like this:

They entirely left off the part about the unqualified man being destroyed during a confirmation hearing, presenting the day as an epic win for Trump because the Senate confirmed 2 out of 5 of the President’s nominees.  Now that is fake news.

9 thoughts on “Trump Nominates Man with Less Courtroom Experience than Me for U.S. District Judge

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  1. Given the awful job some professional and well qualified Judges do, maybe this is a good idea. Maybe this will breath in some fresh air and correct some issues. After all, some of the worst people in government are the ones that have been practicing it the longest.

      1. Just as they are when you have a Judge who is just as clueless even with all of that ‘experience’ and all those ‘qualifications’ he/she has. I’d rather have someone with some common sense.

        Besides, if judges are so great, why do we have so many split decisions on the higher courts? If they are as qualified as you think they should be to get there, why are they not unanimous decisions? The reason is simple enough, some of them don’t belong there, despite all that experience and all their qualifications. So, all that experience and all those qualifications doesn’t seem to matter as much now.

        1. Just stop. You’re blindly defending Trump like an idiot. There is NO justification for nominating someone who doesn’t know how a court works for a U.S. District Judge role. Open your eyes, think critically, and stop defending his moves just because he’s on your team.

          1. I didn’t mention Trump, you did. I don’t care if it is Trump that nominated him or not, I still think the same way. I’ve seen judges make some of the stupidest, brain dead decisions before. Some of those bad decision cost people a ton of money to correct. Experience and qualifications are not always a good indicator of a good judge. As I said, some of those are the worst ones to have.

            Why don’t you take your own advice and “think critically” on this. I already did. Done it long before Trump came along too. Sort of throws your Trump claim out doesn’t it? I’ve read about some of those stupid decisions even before Obama. Not sure who you can blame it on at this point.

          2. Look, I was going to ignore your post because it’s clear that you don’t get it and there’s no point in arguing, but I think I came up with a way to explain in that is simple enough:

            Let’s say we’re in a trial. It’s a civil contract dispute between Plaintiff and Defendant. Defendant is on the stand, and during cross-examination, Plaintiff’s attorney asks, “What did plaintiff tell you on the morning of January 1st, 2017?” Defense counsel jumps up and says, “Objection, your honor — hearsay!”

            Should this objection be sustained or overruled?

            A U.S. District Judge will have to deal with issues like this day in and day out. He or she needs to make the right call within seconds. If the wrong call is made, at the end of the trial, the losing party will appeal, the judge’s ruling will be reversed, and the case will be sent back for a new trial. The time the 8 jurors spent on the original trial will be wasted, the costs will increase for all parties, the judge’s case backlog will grow, and justice will be delayed.

            This is why you ***cannot be a judge who does not know how to run a trial***. You cannot just “use common sense” and make “good decisions.” You need to make legally correct decisions. Matthew Spencer Petersen has no business being behind a federal bench, and it is an insult to justice that Trump nominated him. As a lay person, you may not know better, but the President of the United States, with the counsel of his advisers, is expected to know better.

          3. And this is my reply. The bad judges I have been talking about were highly educated and well experienced judges and they STILL made brain dead and stupid decisions. Your reply did not change one single point I made in my post. Even the smartest people can do the stupidest things. That includes judges and lawyers.

            As I said, what has been done in the past doesn’t always give a good result. Try something new and see if it ends up being better. For all you know, that person may end up being the best Judge and the fairest Judge this country has seen in a century. And THAT is my point. You don’t know how that person will do. It’s likely, even he doesn’t know how well he will do.

          4. You are arguing that there are bad judges who are “qualified.” I agree. The solution is to find judges who are both “qualified” and “good judges,” not to appoint people who are not qualified.

            Again, read my post above. It doesn’t matter how “fair” you are if you are not qualified. A judge who is not qualified will not be able to handle day-to-day decisions and will grind the gears of justice to a halt. The rules of evidence and of civil/criminal procedure must be followed precisely if a case is not to be reversed by an appellate court, and the person Trump appointed has not demonstrated that he can precisely follow those rules because he doesn’t even know what the rules are.

          5. I have read about Judges who have been on the bench for over a decade, some more than a couple decades, that have made some stupid decisions. At times, even simple things like you gave in your example. The point is, who are you to know who will be a good judge and who won’t? I’m not one to know either. What I do know is this. Qualification, education and a whole host of other things don’t mean that a person will make a good judge or be fair either.

            Years ago I sat on a jury. When the trial was over, the prosecutor caught up with me in the parking lot. We talked and somewhat got to know each other. He wanted to ask me for a opinion on a up coming case and I gave him my thoughts. He went to a good law school, from what I’ve been told, he did very well. He’s smart and fairly quick on his feet mentally. He served as assistant DA for several years, got a lot of good solid convictions and was fair as well. If I were a victim, or even a defendant, I’d hope to get him on my case. He’s that fair.

            After a while, he ran to be a Judge for this area. He won. Even with all the experience he had in the courtroom, all the intelligence, he made mistakes and had some of his decisions overturned. Thing is, some of the mistakes he made even I wouldn’t have made. I’m not a lawyer nor do I want to be either. Some things are just common sense and simple. Some people are quick learners and can come from a non-legal background and still judge a case fairly and make good decisions.

            I read once that to be a Supreme Court Justice, you don’t even have to be a lawyer. You don’t have to have any legal training either. Generally they are but it is not required by law or the Constitution. If a President wanted to, he/she could nominate a youngster fresh out of high school and that person if approved could sit on the highest court in the land. Strange thing is, no one would likely know how good or bad that could turn out. That person could turn out to be the best Justice there ever was or impeached as the worst.

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