20 November 2017

Judicial Qualifications

As students in my courses have learned, the process for filling vacancies in the U.S. federal court system involves the President nominating a candidate and a majority of the Senate voting to confirm that person. As I have also mentioned, the constitution is silent as to what qualifications one needs to be a judge. A cynic might say that the only qualification is catch the President's eye and convince a majority of the Senate you can be a judge. While the Senate usually takes its job of ensuring that candidates for these positions are qualified, politics sometimes gets in the way. And so it seems with one of President Trump's recent nominees for U.S. District Court Judge

The Los Angeles Times recently had a scathing editorial taking the President and Senate to task for seriously considering a 36 years old candidate who "has practiced law for only a few years and never tried a case." Read the rest to get a taste of how the qualifications of judicial nominee can be become quite contentious and why being cynical about the process is sometimes warranted.