CourtsEthics and Democracy

Tell Your Senators: Reject Trump’s Extreme Judicial Nominees


Even though Trump has had one of the most unproductive first year of any president, he has been rapidly filling the courts with extreme judges. Even though we don’t have the power to block each and every judicial nominee, some are so egregious that that we may have a chance to stop them - especially now that even Senator Chuck Grassley is coming around to the idea that they are unacceptable nominees.

Jeff Mateer

Jeff Mateer’s nomination is among the most abhorrent. Trump has appointed Mateer for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Mateer has made bigoted, dangerous statements about LGBTQ people, including children, and expressed hostility to civil rights and women’s rights. He has compared the Affordable Care Act to Nazi Germany. Here are just a few of his disqualifying and damaging comments:

Obviously, Jeff Mateer is not qualified for a lifetime federal judgeship. If confirmed, he will almost certainly serve as a rubber stamp for Trump’s anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ agenda.

Brett Talley

Brett Talley is another particularly alarming judicial nominee. Almost cartoonishly unfit to serve, he has been nominated to serve as a federal trial judge in the Middle District of Alabama, despite having zero experience trying cases. The American Bar Association even gave him the rare unanimous ranking of “not qualified.”

He does have some professional experience, though: mainly as a far-right political blogger. And we can read plainly from his writings that that he would be an extreme judge if confirmed. In one of his opinion pieces, Talley scoffed at the credible evidence of Sessions’ racial insensitivity and hostility to civil rights, and said that Jeff Sessions “would seem to be the perfect nominee” for Attorney General.

Talley expressed many other extreme views in his blogs, such as expressing his hope for the National Rifle Association (NRA) to “be victorious” and for more people to carry guns in places such as schools. He also has denounced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a “lawless organ of federal power” and insisted that the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the agency would be “good for the environment.”

From the gaps in his resume to the extremism in his blogs, it’s abundantly clear that Brett Talley is unqualified and unfit to be a federal judge.

Tell your Senator Not to Confirm Trump’s Extreme and Unqualified Judicial Nominees

If confirmed, Talley and Mateer would receive lifetime tenure as federal judges. The courts are tasked with preserving the rule of law, and are able to set precedent that could last permanently. Some of the most urgent threats that we face under Trump will come down to court decisions. It is dangerous to allow these nominees to become judges.

The Senate can stop this by refusing to confirm these nominees. Call your Senator and urge them to reject Mateer, Talley and all judicial nominees who lack the experience and temperament to serve as a federal judge.

Sample Script

Caller: Hi! My name is [name] and I’m a constituent calling from [part of state]. I’m calling about two of Trump’s judicial nominees, Jeff Mateer and Brett Talley. I’m alarmed by these nominations and want to see Senator [name] publicly commit to voting against their confirmation as federal judges.

Staffer: Thank you for calling. The senator is still reviewing information about a number of nominees, and will vote to confirm judges who will uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

Caller: I’m glad to hear that, because that is why I’m concerned about these nominees. Talley has never tried a case and has been unanimously deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association. Mateer has expressed dangerous views that suggest he would be an extreme judge if confirmed. [Senator] should reject these nominees.

Staffer: I will relay your concerns to the Senator.

Caller: Please do, I’ll be closely watching for [his/her] statement.