President Trump’s nominee to be a federal district judge did not inform Congress that he is married to a White House lawyer when questioned about potential conflicts of interest.
Brett Talley was already a controversial candidate, as the 36 year old has never tried a case in his life and has only practiced law for three years. He was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Associations judicial rating committee, and has ranted on his rightwing blog about “Hillary Rotten Clinton” and his beliefs that Obama’s master plan was “to make guns illegal, in all forms.” He once wrote “I agree completely with this” in response to a reader who said citizens may have to “resort to arms” if gun control legislation were passed into law.
In addition to his spouse’s connections in the White House, Talley also worked in the office that selects judicial nominees since Trump took office. Despite this, Republicans in the Senate Judiciary approved Talley’s nomination.
Talley’s wife is chief of staff to White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II, who is playing an instrumental role in packing the federal courts with young, extreme rightwing judges.
“The judge story is an untold story. Nobody wants to talk about it,” Trump bragged last month with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “But when you think of it, Mitch and I were saying, that has consequences 40 years out, depending on the age of the judge — but 40 years out.”
McConnell held 100 seats vacant in the federal courts system during the final two years of President Obama’s term, approving only 22 judges in two years. The Democratic Senate approved 68 judges during that same time period during the Bush administration.
Trump has nominated 59 people to the federal courts in his first year, compared to Obama’s 27 nominations in 2009.