Donald Trump’s pick to be a federal judge in Alabama - despite having only practised law for three years and having never tried a single case - reportedly failed to disclose he is married to a White House lawyer.

Brett Talley, who writes a blog in which he has described Hillary Clinton as “rotten” and suggested efforts to regulate guns after the Newtown elementary school massacre as the "greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime”, was nominated for the position by the Trump administration in September.

When he was nominated, the American Bar Association rated him as “unqualified” - the fourth such Trump administration judicial nominee to receive such a rating.


As ThinkProgress Justice Editor Ian Millhiser wrote:

Talley’s lack of experience is likely to be a particular liability because he was nominated to sit on a trial court. Though appellate judges are considered to be more prestigious and sit on panels that have the power to reverse trial judges’ decisions, trial judges often have a much more difficult job. Appeals courts answer discrete legal questions after reading extensive briefing on the issue. Trial judges, by contrast, have to manage trial schedules, make rulings on the fly, and control what can become an unruly courtroom.

Did a prosecutor ask an inappropriate question of a potential juror? If the trial judge doesn’t react right away, the entire trial might be thrown out on appeal. The same can be true if a judge lacks fluency with the Federal Rules of Evidence. Or if they make the wrong split-second decision when an attorney raises an objection. It’s a tough job, riddled with traps for the unwary. And it’s difficult to imagine someone who has never tried a case before performing it well, or even adequately.

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