4 Frightening Federal Judicial Nominees from Trump

President Donald Trump has already nominated 50 people to serve as federal judges, and boy are some of them terrible. The problem is not just that they’re super conservative, it’s that they’re often inexperienced, ill tempered and ambivalent to following the law. These are candidates with such dubious credentials and traits that no other president would even consider them.

Here are four of the candidates we should be worried about getting confirmed to lifetime appointments:


1. Jeff Mateer

Mateer, a U.S. District Court nominee, is presently employed as the first assistant attorney general for the state of Texas, and seems to actively court controversy with his statements about the LGBT community. When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, he said it put the country on a path toward polygamy and people having sex with animals.

Even children aren’t immune from Mateer’s homophobic spewing. He endorses conversion therapy for children who show signs of homosexuality and even referred to transgender kids as a part of “Satan’s plan.”

It’s not like Mateer has a solid sense of perspective apart from LGBT issues either, what with his frequent accusations of Nazism. Mateer compared the persecution Christians in America supposedly face to the way Jewish people were treated by Nazi Germany (what?) and that requiring companies to offer contraceptives along with health care is akin to Nazi policy.

Having a guy like Mateer on the bench for life would be a total mess.

2. Brett Talley

Typically, federal district judge nominees have a lot of experience under their belt, yet Talley has spent only a few years practicing law. He hit pause on that career to campaign for Mitt Romney and become a speechwriter for a Republican senator, Rob Portman. It’s a stretch to say someone who has spent such little time in a courtroom is ready for primetime.

Talley’s far right views and loyalty to the president have earned him a nomination to the bench anyway. Like the man who nominated him, Talley has shared a lot of controversial commentary on Twitter, including his opinion that Hillary Clinton should be jailed. As Think Progress points out – shouldn’t a judge be a little more concerned with due process?

3. Charles Goodwin

It had been over ten years since the American Bar Association last deemed a federal judicial nominee as “not qualified” for the position, but now Charles Goodwin has broken a roughly 600-judge approval streak.

Unfortunately, the ABA does not explain why it gave the rating it did, we just know that a majority of people serving on the panel deemed him unfit after reviewing his “integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.”

Republicans have been quick to label this an example of ABA promoting a liberal agenda, even though the ABA has a long record of not focusing on the politics. In fact, most of Trump’s far-right judicial nominees so far have received a perfect score.

Goodwin, a U.S. magistrate judge in Oklahoma for the past four years, has declined to comment on his rating. We’ll probably have to wait to hear about his questionable judicial history at a confirmation hearing if it ever gets that far. It’s likely that at that point, a representative from the ABA could be called to testify on why they consider Goodwin the first unqualified judge in close to a decade.

4. Greg Katsas

Now a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Katsas has already spent 2017 in the White House, working in the Counsel’s office and providing legal advice to the president. Considering how many cases that come before this court involve the presidential administration, The People for the American Way argues that it’s a major conflict of interest to put a former legal advisor on the bench.

In his Senate hearing, Katsas did nothing to reassure legislators that he would avoid these conflicts of interest, even going so far as to not commit to recuse himself from a potential future Mueller case, even though he advised Trump on this subject. That should have been a no-brainer to say, “Of course I’d have to recuse myself.”

Although Katsas wouldn’t tell the Judiciary Committee what he told the president, he acknowledged he worked with the administration on issues like the Muslim travel ban, the voter fraud committee, Trump’s business interests (and potential conflicts) and denying women contraceptives under Obamacare. Considering how many of these issues are considered unconstitutional, you’ve got to wonder what kind of advice he’s giving!

The bad news is, even though Republican members of Congress have voiced concerns about some of these candidates, so far all of Trump’s nominees have gotten Senate Republicans’ majority support in confirmation votes. It’s hard to imagine the GOP breaking that trend now, even for terrible judge picks.

Face the facts – unless it’s a Supreme Court justice, judge appointments just don’t get a lot of press. There’s not going to be nearly enough outrage for senators to feel it worth their time to break party lines on these votes since their role in approving them will ultimately fly under the radar.

No matter how short Trump’s time in office is, he’ll leave behind a legacy of making the federal courts a lot more conservative… and problematic.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 days ago

Just because someone says or does something you don't agree with, doesn't mean they are "frightening". We are NEVER going to agree with someone else all the time!

donald Baumgartner

Impeach Trump !!!!!

Christian Menges
Christian Mengesabout a month ago

thx. for article

Jeramie D
Jeramie Dabout a month ago

Everything that has to do with the tRump administration seems to be wrong and mean spirited.

Kimberly W
Kimberly Wallaceabout a month ago

not surprising

Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

Elaine W
Elaine Wabout a month ago

Heartbreaking and I am very worried.

Cen S
Cen Soredabout a month ago

Willet owns sense of humor. For example two of his Trump tweets: Justice Don Willett ✔@JusticeWillett
Donald Trump haiku—

Who would the Donald
Name to #SCOTUS? The mind reels.
*weeps—can't finish tweet*
Justice Don Willett ✔@JusticeWillett
"We'll rebuild the Death Star. It'll be amazing, believe me. And the rebels will pay for it."
—Darth Trump

Amanda M
Amanda Mabout a month ago

I never trust ANYBODY that Twitler nominates or appoints. All of them are hellbent on turning this country into a Religious Reich theocracy that can best be described as the love child of "1984" and "The Handmaid's Tale!" Scary, scary stuff!

caroline lord
caroline l1 months ago

will no one rid u of this meddlesome moron