- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Republican senator unloaded on President Trump’s judicial picks Tuesday, saying the White House was bungling the nominations by failing to disclose information and raising serious conflicts of interest.

Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican, said one nominee Mr. Trump made for a federal district court in Alabama is not qualified to serve because of an alleged connection to the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Kennedy, who voted for the pick in committee earlier this month, said the information came to light later, and now says he’ll vote against him “in a heartbeat, twice if I can.”

He was referring to a recent spate of articles, including pieces from Buzzfeed and Salon, which reported Brett Talley, an Alabama lawyer nominated to be a judge for the Middle District of Alabama, had blogged under a pseudonym defending the KKK. Mr. Talley has not commented on the accusation.

“He’s never tried a lawsuit in his natural life, and he’s going to be on the federal bench? Give me a break,” Mr. Kennedy said about the nominee on Tuesday.

“It is embarrassing and I think the president of the United States is getting some very, very bad advice,” he said.

The senator said he’s tried talking to the White House Chief Counsel Don McGahn about the concerns, but “it’s like talking to the wind.”

Mr. Talley was widely criticized by Democrats during his confirmation hearing for blogging about the Second Amendment and in support of the National Rifle Association. He was also rated not qualified by the American Bar Association.

Additionally, the New York Times recently reported Mr. Talley failed to disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee his wife is chief of staff for Mr. McGahn, which Democrats said poses a potential conflict of interest.

Mr. Talley cleared the Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote 11-9 earlier this month. Mr. Kennedy had voted for him.

“We were not told,” the senator said of the recently reported conflicts. “I understand there’s some more information about him.”

Mr. Kennedy also voted Tuesday against confirmation of Gregory Katsas, deputy White House counsel, to a position on the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

He said Mr. Katsas had handled many critical issues for Mr. Trump that could be heard by the court on which he’ll now sit.

The White House did not immediately provide a comment on Mr. Kennedy’s concerns.

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