During his presidency, Barack Obama made a notorious error by not giving priority to filling judicial vacancies. However, unlike Obama, Donald Trump learned from this mistake, likely due to encouragement from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and made filling vacancies a priority. Although Joe Biden modeled his presidency after Obama’s, he did not repeat Obama’s mistake, and he has capitalized on the Democratic majority in the Senate to appoint as many leftist judges to the judiciary as possible.
And boy, has Biden placed a greater emphasis on quantity rather than quality in his nominations. Additionally, to compensate for being an old white man, he’s routinely nominated judges based on their demographics, and several of these nominees proved themselves to be affirmative action picks undeserving of a promotion when they couldn’t answer simple questions.
The most notorious example, of course, is Ketanji Brown Jackson. Biden promised during his campaign to nominate a black woman and for some reason landed on her. Maybe it was her soft-on-crime tendencies or her leniency toward sex offenders that appealed to Biden? Who knows? But the most embarrassing part of her nomination was the moment when she, who was nominated solely for being a black woman, was unable to define what a woman is during her confirmation hearings.
During a Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year, one of Joe Biden’s judicial nominees was unable to answer basic questions about the Constitution when questioned by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren, who was nominated to become a U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Washington, was unable to respond when questioned by Senator John Kennedy about specific articles in the nation’s founding document.
“Tell me what Article V of the Constitution does,” Kennedy asked at the beginning of his questioning.
“Article V is not coming to mind at the moment,” Bjelkengren replied.
“How about Article II?” Kennedy asked.
Bjelkengren didn’t know the answer to that question, either.
CRINGE: Biden federal district court nominee Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren, from Washington state’s Spokane County Superior Court, cannot answer simple questions about the Articles of the US Constitution during Senate Judiciary Committee hearing pic.twitter.com/pbYY2YI2iZ
— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) January 26, 2023
“Is this the caliber of legal expert with which President Biden is filling the federal bench? For lifetime appointments?” asked McConnell. “Is the bar for merit and excellence really set this low? For years, now, Washington Democrats’ rhetoric around judicial nominations has often treated actual qualifications as an afterthought. Democrats were not particularly impressed or moved by the top-shelf professional excellence or the academic brilliance that the last Republican Administration’s nominees possessed in spades. And apparently they don’t count those qualities as particularly high priorities now that they’re the ones doing the nominating. The American people deserve an impartial judiciary that is full of the finest legal minds our country has on offer. The American people deserve the best and brightest.”
Bjelkengren currently serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Judge, and her nomination has yet to make it out of committee. Biden likely nominated her because, if confirmed, she would be the first black woman to serve on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and the first black woman to serve on a United States District Court in the state of Washington.
Kennedy stumped another Biden nominee on Wednesday when the nominee was forced to admit he was unfamiliar with the criminal law concept known as the Brady motion.
“Tell me how you analyze a Brady motion,” Kennedy asked of Kato Crews, the first black U.S. magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, who has been nominated for a district court seat in the state.
The Brady motion is a legal request made by a defendant in a criminal case to require prosecutors to disclose potentially favorable evidence — a reference to the Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland, which established this legal principle.
“How I analyze a Brady motion… Senator, in my four and half years on the bench, I don’t believe I’ve had the occasion to address a Brady motion in my career,” Crews replied.
“Do you know what a Brady motion is?” Kennedy asked.
“Senator, in my time on the bench, I’ve not had occasion to address that and so it’s not coming to mind at the moment what a Brady motion is,” Crews said.
When Kennedy inquired if Crews was familiar with the Brady v. Maryland case, Crews said he’d heard of it, but, when pressed for details, gave an incorrect response.
.@SenJohnKennedy: “Do you know what a Brady motion is?”
Biden federal trial court nominee Kato Crews: “It’s not coming to mind at the moment what a Brady motion is.” pic.twitter.com/oVPEnE4CfF
— Conservative War Machine (@WarMachineRR) March 22, 2023
It’s not just the nominees who should be embarrassed, but also Joe Biden and the entire Democratic Party. They have a long history of fiercely opposing highly-qualified conservative judicial nominees (particularly women and minorities) yet have no qualms about nominating individuals who lack fundamental legal and constitutional knowledge (particularly women and minorities).