Speed Reads

checks and balances

Trump reportedly thanked this GOP senator for grilling his unqualified judicial nominee

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) gave Matthew Spencer Petersen, the Trump administration's nominee for the U.S. District Court judgeship for the District of Columbia, the grilling of a lifetime when Petersen appeared at a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing this past Thursday. Video of their conversation — which saw Petersen repeatedly professing ignorance of basic legal concepts — promptly went viral, and Petersen withdrew from consideration Monday.

Also Monday, Kennedy said in an interview that President Trump called on Saturday to thank him for exposing Petersen's judicial deficiencies. "The president and I get along fine, and he has told me, he said, 'Kennedy, when some of my guys send somebody over who's not qualified, you do your job,'" Kennedy recalled. "And I said, 'Thank you, Mr. President.' And I intend to do that."

Petersen is "really smart" and a "decent guy," Kennedy added, but "just because you've seen My Cousin Vinny doesn't qualify you to be a federal judge. And he has no litigation experience, and my job on the Judiciary Committee is to catch him. I would strongly suggest he not give up his day job."