How To Pick Better Judicial Nominees

Earlier this week, Matthew Peterson, who was nominated for a position on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after a particularly embarrassing appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, withdrew his nomination rather than face certain rejection. This led to speculation about how the Trump Administration could improve its judicial nomination process.

One New York Times ready offered a solution:

The appalling performance by Matthew Petersen, one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, in response to the withering questioning by Senator John Kennedy is inexcusable in this day and age, whatever the limitations of Mr. Petersen’s legal schooling and past experience. For while the television series “Law and Order” has been off the air for several years, it is in almost constant syndicated rerun.

Had Mr. Petersen watched even a few episodes, he almost certainly would have known what a motion “in limine is, and what the various abstention doctrines are. Shame on Mr. Petersen for not having attended the universal law school of the airwaves that was “Law and Order.”


Fordes was a co-executive producer of Law & Order from 1991 to 2012

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It would be an improvement over the “law degree as a cereal box prize” approach they are presently using.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    The Trump administration is not interested in good nominees to the court. Rather, they’re interested in getting young ideologically-correct confirmed to federal courts across the country.
    If by happenstance they turn out to be well qualified – like Neil Gorsuch – that’s fortunate and fine, but really, with complete Republican control of Congress, for the moment it does not seem to matter much.

  3. Tyrell says:

    Why not let the people decide by voting for them.

  4. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: Because people are stupid. Roy Moore was voted back in as a judge over and over despite being removed. Moore has no respect for the constitution but people still voted him in because he hated on the right people.