President Donald Trump on Monday resubmitted 21 judicial nominees to the Senate whose nominations expired in 2017 ― including two rated “not qualified” to be federal judges by the American Bar Association.
Charles Goodwin and Holly Teeter are among those in the president’s renominations. The ABA concluded in December that Goodwin, Trump’s nominee to a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, is unqualified to fulfill the demands of a federal judge given his “work habits.” The ABA concluded in November that Teeter, Trump’s nominee to a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, is not qualified based on her lack of trial court experience.
Judicial nominees rarely earn such an abysmal rating from the ABA, which has reviewed more than 1,700 federal judicial nominees since 1989. None of President Barack Obama’s nominees were rated “not qualified” during his eight years in office. Eight of President George W. Bush’s earned the rating during his two terms. In Trump’s case, four have earned the rating in his first year. Senate Republicans actually confirmed one of them, for some reason. The other one bowed out in embarrassment.
Part of Trump’s problem is that he’s flying through judicial nominations without much vetting, and he’s not submitting potential court picks to the ABA before he announces their nominations. Most presidents wait for the ABA rating to come out before announcing a nominee, in part to save face in case one of their nominees gets a bad rating. Obama had a handful of potential court picks who got a “not qualified” rating, but then they were never formally nominated.