Donald Trump certainly has made some unusual choices for official appointments. He offered his ex-wife Ivana Trump the Czech ambassadorship. The president hired truck driver, Nick Brusky, for USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service at one of the highest pay grade levels in the federal government. Then, there was the former cabana attendant he appointed as confidential assistant at the Agriculture Marketing Service. Yet, it gets even worse.
The president has offered up two very controversial people for lifetime appointments as federal district court judges. They are Jeff Mateer in Texas and Brett Talley in Alabama.
Trump has been trying to overhaul the federal courts by filling them with young conservatives judges, and the Republican-led Senate has been following right along, approving them at an unprecedented rapid clip. One of the two men, Talley, has already graduated past the Judiciary Committee and is waiting for a vote from the full Senate.
It is not certain Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will schedule that vote. One of the majority leader’s aides said this decision was “premature.” The Senate has already been considering three circuit court judges’ nominations. Plus, the Senate also has to deal with the massive Cut-Taxes-For-The-Wealthy/No-Jobs Bill, formally known as the Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
McConnell needs to make certain the government passes a budget to fund the government before it shuts down, deal with end-0f-year issues, and shop for Christmas, too.
After the Judiciary Committee approved Talley a month ago, an online post came back to haunt him. In 2011, he defended the early KKK (Ku Klux Klan). In addition, he forgot to mention on his Senate questionnaire that his wife has a top White House job. That would pose a potential conflict of interest.
A White House official said that Talley offered to withdraw his nomination last week. Another person aware of the circumstances said that Talley is permanently stalled.
Mateer hit a wall in his nomination process in committee, and he may not receive committee approval. In a rare move, CNN reported the Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said:
‘I’ve advised the White House they ought to reconsider. I would advise the White House not to proceed.’
Republican Richard Shelby, senior Alabama senator, asked Talley to withdraw, according to Buzzfeed:
‘While the senator believes that Brett Talley is a great young attorney, he spoke with him last week and asked for his letter of withdrawal in hopes that Mr. Talley can gain more experience.’
Republican John Cornyn of Texas, objected due to Mateer’s unusual concept that transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan.” CNN reported:
‘On the Mateer case, he did not disclose the information before the judicial evaluation committee. That’s a serious breach of protocol.’
Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said he would not vote for Mateer or Talley. He did not believe they had enough votes for confirmation:
‘Nor should they. I think the President, as I’ve said before, has been given some very, very bad advice.’
The top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, released a statement that said:
‘I would hope that Chairman Grassley’s request that the White House pull these nominations leads him to reconsider the breakneck speed at which the Judiciary Committee has been considering nominees. Moving so quickly makes it more likely that senators will be caught by surprise and end up having to vote for someone whose record they weren’t fully aware of.’
According to CNN:
‘The Senate has voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and 10 circuit court nominees — the most of any president in his first year since Richard Nixon.’
Twenty-four judicial nominees are pending in the Senate.