Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is lauding the qualifications of a lawyer named Justin Walker, who was nominated earlier this year by President Donald Trump for a lifetime judiciary appointment on the U.S. Western District Court for Kentucky.
Walker’s nomination to become a federal judge is contentious, however, because many do not believe he’s actually qualified for the role. Walker has not served as a sole or even lead lawyer in a federal trial case, and he avoided answering questions on Wednesday over whether he’s even taken a deposition from a witness.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), confronted Walker about that possibility. “Have you ever taken a deposition in a federal case?” she asked him.
In other questions about his qualifications, Walker said his experience was more academic than directly involved in courts — and on Feinstein’s question, he didn’t give a direct answer, alluding to his other experiences instead.
“My role has been at times in the courtroom, but more often than not, exploring the law, writing about the law,” Walker said, per reporting from The National Law Journal.
The American Bar Association cautioned lawmakers about Walker’s appointment, giving him a rating in June of “not qualified.”
In spite of this rating, McConnell still lauded Walker’s nomination as “unquestionably the most outstanding nomination that [he’s] ever recommended to Presidents to serve on the bench in Kentucky.”
.@senatemajldr Mitch McConnell: "This is unquestionably the most outstanding nomination that I’ve ever recommended to Presidents to serve on the bench in #Kentucky." VIDEO: https://t.co/SDhPDd43pO https://t.co/YyxFiqHCsV
— Senator McConnell Press (@McConnellPress) July 31, 2019
Jennifer Bendery, a HuffPost senior politics reporter, noted that Walker’s experience, and McConnell’s comments, were wildly inconsistent.
McConnell is saying here that the best person he's ever recommended to *any* president to be a lifetime federal judge is a 37-year-old guy rated not qualified for the job because of the "very substantial gap" in his experience.
Way to aim high! 🇺🇸
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) July 31, 2019
“McConnell is saying here that the best person he’s ever recommended to *any* president to be a lifetime federal judge is a 37-year-old guy rated not qualified for the job because of the ‘very substantial gap’ in his experience,” Bendery pointed out.
Walker is a lawyer who pushed heavily for the appointment and subsequent Senate approval of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He has been a faculty member of the Brandeis School of Law in Kentucky since 2015.