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Trump’s nominee for top judicial role has never heard a case before and was deemed ‘not qualified’ by the bar association

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And he’s reportedly under fire for not disclosing wife’s White House role

President Donald Trump has punted for a 36-year-old Harvard law graduate who has never tried a case to fill a lifetime judicial vacancy.

Brett Talley has inched closer to becoming a district judge in his home state of Alabama after receiving the backing of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC). The committee — in which Republicans outnumber Democrats — voted in favour of Talley’s nomination. It will now move to a full Senate vote.

So what do we know about Talley? Well, given his relatively short legal career, not a great deal.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007, before working as an associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a US law firm which also has an office in London. The relatively unknown lawyer also clerked in the Federal District Court and US Court of Appeal. Talley enjoys writing horror novels in his spare time, and currently serves as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice.

While Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Talley is “more than qualified to serve in the federal judiciary”, Trump’s pick hasn’t gone down well with everyone.

The American Bar Association (ABA), which vets federal judicial nominees, rated Talley “not qualified”. Meanwhile, senator Richard Durbin questioned the young lawyer’s suitability for the role. During a Judiciary Committee meeting he put this question to Talley:

“How can you claim to be qualified for a lifetime appointment to supervise federal trials on a daily basis when you have never yourself tried a single case?”

In response Talley — who worked as a senior writer on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign — flagged up examples where he had argued motions in the Federal District Court, often through written briefs.

Now, Trump’s pick has come under fire overnight for failing to disclose his wife’s role at the White House. It has emerged that Talley is married to fellow Harvard law grad Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to White House counsel Donald F McGahn II. A New York Times report states:

“Mr Talley was asked on his publicly released Senate questionnaire to identify family members and others who are ‘likely to present potential conflicts of interest.’ He did not mention his wife.”

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14 Comments

Not Amused

You know, he is qualified in England …

I loathe trump. But when will you people realise that getting hysterical about everything he does just lessens the message. You need to let some stuff go. Find the really important things and then bring him down.

Did no one read The Boy who cried Wolf to you illiberals as children?

Anonymous

Old wives tale. Are you a wife? Or just old?

I’d rather cry wolf at an actual wolf than allow it to gradually devour my chickens.

Anonymous

then you wouldn’t be crying wolf would you? It is a simple enough fable

Corbyn. Symphathiser

“Just let some things go” you say, when Trump has a track record of appointing people totally unfit for their positions based on inadequate background checks – and look! It’s happened again. When you ‘let go’ someone being appointed to a position for which they are utterly unfit, there are a series of knock-on effects which will colour the rest of other people’s lives. I think of them before I think of Brett Talley’s hurt feelings.

Not that I’m surprised that you feel no problem with supporting ill-suited government appointees whose activity borders on treasnous. After all, you support Theresa May’s Conservatives.

Anonymous

Imposter cuck

@nighthawkprof

you make sense

i am surprised

SingaporeSwing

This seems to be an age issue. If he were fifty, it wouldn’t be a problem.

Dr. Whoo

It’s not what you know…

Anonymous

Regardless of who nominated him, it is a high-risk system that can appoint a person to a lifetime district judge position – not elected and not renewable dependent on aptitude and performance. I have been a trial lawyer for 25 years and it does not follow that I would therefore make a good judge. To offer up the fact that he has argued motions in the federal district court and prepared written arguments is just nonsense – we all do that! At best, it should be a temporary appointment, supervised and mentored by an experienced district judge, to be confirmed if he shows he is up to the job.

With Donald’s track record, Brett will probably do the job for a couple of months and then something will come out and he will resign.

Anonymous

Oh come on. The job will be a doddle. As in England, you have two counsel practically doing the job for you, comparble to most senior bureaucratic positions. You just need to sign off on one version of events and law, or tweak or blend, if you want to plough your own furrow.

Anonymous

How many cases have 2 Counsel in this day and age? Let alone 2 competent counsel. A roomful of litigants in person is more like it all armed with screen shots of blogs about irrelevant law and a carrier bag full of documents in plastic wallets.

Anonymous

Not a conflict of interest if they intend for the wife to resign if he gets the job in Alabama?

Anonymous

Brenda Hale…pot, kettle?

Anonymous

Niteowl Attorney could sort this out for us. He probably knows this guy. Probably trained with him.

If only that wise fellow was still around to advise us and to tell us how much better the US legal system is, how wigs and gowns are stupid, how we’re all the prisoners of the EU (ha!) and so on.

Niteowl where are you?

(And I don’t mean nighthawkprof who’s clearly just a gobby student.)

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