Another Biden Judicial Nominee Stumped by Senator’s Questions During Hearing

April 7, 2023
Bad Nominee Biden | First Liberty

by Jorge Gomez • 4 min read

Senators are calling another one of President Biden’s judicial nominees unqualified to serve on the federal bench. Kato Crews, a magistrate judge selected for a lifetime position as a district court judge in Denver, was recently stumped by Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana during a confirmation hearing.

Crews failed to answer Sen. Kennedy’s question about a criminal law procedure known as a Brady motion. He was asked point-blank to “define what a Brady motion is,” but was unable to do so. He also did not answer when asked how to “analyze” one of these proceedings. Watch the full exchange below:

A Brady motion is a legal process by which a criminal defendant can force the prosecution to disclose any evidence that might prove innocence. A federal law passed in 2020, and co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois, requires all federal judges to affirm that prosecutors are obligated to hand over any potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. It’s named after the landmark Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, which held that withholding evidence that might otherwise prove someone to be innocent is a violation of due process rights.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who also serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, commented that the nominee’s inability to answer the question reflected the Biden administration elevating identity politics over qualifications.

“Skill and merit are low on Joe Biden’s priority list. The only requirement that matters is political fealty to the party line,” he said.

Other senators echoed Sen. Cotton. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said, “This is yet another example of the Biden administration advancing an unqualified candidate who is incapable of answering even basic, fundamental questions about core legal concepts.” In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah commented:

“I would be hard-pressed to hire a law clerk who couldn’t answer Senator Kennedy’s questions. But this administration is willing to sacrifice understanding of fundamental tenets of the law and a basic understanding of the Constitution in exchange for woke identity politics.”

Crews is only the latest Biden nominee to stumble during Sen. Kennedy’s questioning. Notably, Charnelle Bjelkengren, nominated to be a district court judge in Washington, failed to answer basic constitutional questions, including what Article II and Article V say. The Washington Free Beacon recaps several others who’ve struggled to articulate and explain core legal concepts during their hearings:

Biden’s judicial selections continue to raise serious red flags. Our legal experts have documented and discussed at length multiple nominees who inspire little confidence that they would protect religious freedom. Their records reveal that they hold positions far outside the mainstream. While in private practice, some of them worked for—or were endorsed by—the most radical groups in the country, which suggests they could be hostile to religious liberty and unconstitutionally advance a liberal policy agenda from the federal bench.

Federal judges make critical legal decisions not only about religious liberty, but also on many of our cherished constitutional rights. Deciding who will be on our federal courts for life should be, first and foremost, about their record, experience and the legal philosophy. At a time when religious Americans confront increasing threats to their freedoms, we need excellent judges committed the Constitution and the rule of law—who will rule according to principle and not politics.

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Biden Nominees Undermining Confidence in the Courts

Townhall reports: Confidence in the American legal system hinges on the beliefs that justice is blind and judges are impartial.

That confidence has taken a significant hit in recent years because Americans across the country have watched a two-tiered justice system emerge. Violent activists are allowed to tear apart, loot and burn whole neighborhoods in the name of social justice, while any excuse is accepted for arresting actual peaceful pro-life protesters who are at odds politically with the Biden Administration.

Incredibly, after President Biden ran through his list of activist judges who cannot be trusted to faithfully apply the law due to their extreme political views, he managed to nominate individuals who would be incapable of faithfully applying the law – because they apparently do not know the law.

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That suggests the Biden administration is more focused on playing identity politics than with the records, qualifications and legal philosophies of judicial nominees could be detrimental, judicial experts warn.

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Senate Confirms Rare Biden Judge Pick from Republican-Led State

Reuters reports: The U.S. Senate did something rare recently: It unanimously confirmed one of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees. The Senate approved U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew Brookman to a U.S. district court judgeship in the Southern District of Indiana, a state with two Republican senators.

The lack of Republican opposition to Brookman marked a rarity for the Democratic president’s judicial nominees. Of 119 confirmed judicial nominees, only two others did not require roll call votes and were instead unanimously approved by voice vote.

Few Biden Judicial Nominees at Senate Hearing As ‘Blue Slip’ Concerns Loom

Reuters reports: A dearth of new judicial nominees led to quieter-than-usual U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings recently. Senators voiced concern that members of the minority party were slowing the nomination process down by withholding “blue slips” supporting potential new judges in their home states. Only two candidates for lifetime positions as judges appeared before the panel for its first judicial nominations hearing in five weeks.

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