Grassley Refuses to Advance Two Trump Judicial Nominees

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday said two of President Donald Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees will not go forward in the Senate.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the comments to reporters a day after he told CNN he urged the White House to reconsider the nominations of Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer.

“No they won’t,” Grassley told reporters when asked if he anticipated either Talley or Mateer’s nomination to receive additional action in Congress.

NPR reported on Wednesday the White House “will not be moving forward” with Talley’s nomination.

Talley, who is up for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, has come under fire for a 2013 blog post he wrote calling gun control efforts after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School were “the greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime,” as well as posts on a message board apparently defending the early KKK.

Talley also did not notify the Senate Judiciary Committee he was married to the chief of staff of the White House counsel.

“The idea that somebody in the White House gets to put a completely unqualified husband up for a lifetime judicial appointment and then not disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee that there’s that relationship involved, does not put anybody in a great place,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, told reporters Tuesday evening.

Talley was rated not qualified by the American Bar Association due to lack of experience. Currently serving as deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, Talley only started practicing law in 2015, and told the committee he has never tried a case.

The judiciary committee advanced his nomination in November on a party-line vote.

Mateer, nominated to the U.S. District Court for theĀ  Middle District of Alabama, has faced opposition due to comments he made in 2015 referring to transgender children as part of “Satan’s plan.” The committee has not taken any action on Mateer sinceĀ  receiving his nomination in September and he has not yet provided the usual documents to the panel.

Grassley did not fault the Trump White House’s vetting process for the controversy surrounding the judges, saying it is difficult to know what will come up about a nominee in today’s environment.

“I think vetting is very, very thorough already,” Grassley told reporters Wednesday. “But I don’t know how you can be absolutely sure of everybody, particularly in the social networking world that we have.”

But Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican who sits on the Judiciary Committee, told reporters on Tuesday evening Trump is receiving “very, very bad advice.” Kennedy has made it a point at nomination hearings to ask potential judges about their blogging and social media habits, as well as if they have ever defended the KKK or called transgender children part of “Satan’s plan,” clear references to the Mateer and Talley nominations.

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