A gavel sits on a desk inside the Court of Appeals at the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, which celebrated its official opening on Monday Jan. 14, 2013, in Denver. 
Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP

Trump’s ghost-hunting judicial nominee plays a key role at Justice Dept


Donald Trump has sent some bizarre judicial nominees to the Senate for consideration, but Brett Talley continues to stand out as, well, let’s just say special.

As regular readers may recall, Talley, who was up for a lifetime position on the federal bench in Alabama, was almost immediately seen as a controversial nominee, largely because he was a 36-year-old lawyer who’d never tried a case or argued a motion in court. Things got worse when we learned Talley had failed to disclose the fact that his wife is a senior lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office.

But that was just the start. As his judicial nomination progressed, we learned that Talley also worked as a right-wing blogger, where he pledged his support to the NRA and reacted to the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary by writing, “My solution would be to stop being a society of pansies and man up.”

We then learned that Talley expressed “a fervent interest in investigating and writing about paranormal activities.”

So, whatever happened to that guy? Talley eventually withdrew his judicial nomination – even some Republicans found it tough to defend him – though as Stephanie Mencimer reported yesterday for Mother Jones, he landed on his feet.

[T]he controversy didn’t send him packing to Alabama. Instead, he simply continued working as deputy associate attorney general at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, where he oversaw the judicial nominations unit that advises the president and attorney general on the selection and confirmation of federal judges and conducts the vetting, interviewing, and evaluating of nominees.

This spring, [Talley] moved to a more junior position at the Justice Department, as an assistant US attorney.

Yes, it turns out the guy who received a judicial nomination because the Trump White House didn’t much care about vetting the president’s picks for the federal bench is now helping vet Trump’s picks for the federal bench.

Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, told  Mother Jones, “That Talley was in charge of picking nominees might explain why the quality has been so low and their views so extreme.”