In a recent Senate hearing, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy once again stumped a Biden judicial nominee, this time by asking a simple question about the Court of Federal Claims. The nominee, Robin M. Meriweather, struggled to answer the senator's question about the grounds for granting a new trial in the court.
During the hearing, Senator Kennedy asked Meriweather how many motions she had argued in the Court of Federal Claims. To his surprise, she responded by saying that she had never argued in court. Kennedy confirmed that the answer was indeed zero before proceeding to ask her about the grounds for granting a new trial.
The Biden nominee continuously dodged the senator's question, refusing to answer the grounds for granting a new trial in the Court of Federal Claims. Instead, she simply stated that if confirmed, she would consult the rules and follow the precedent. This response raised concerns about Meriweather's knowledge and experience in the court.
According to Kennedy, all trials in the Court of Federal Claims are bench trials, meaning that the decision is made solely by a judge. The court's rules are similar to those of federal district courts, but Meriweather's lack of familiarity with the grounds for granting a new trial raised doubts about her qualifications for the position.
Kennedy pressed on, asking Meriweather to name just one ground for granting a new trial in either a federal district court or the Court of Federal Claims. After some hesitation, she finally named one, to which Kennedy pointed out that there are actually six or seven possible grounds for granting a new trial.
This exchange once again brings attention to President Biden's tendency to choose officials and staff members based on their race and diversity rather than their qualifications. It raises concerns about the effectiveness of his choices and whether they will be able to perform their duties with sufficient knowledge and experience.
Kennedy's questioning of Meriweather also highlights the importance of thorough and comprehensive understanding of the courts and their procedures for judicial nominees. As the senator pointed out, the Court of Federal Claims is not one of the more well-known courts, but it is crucial for a judicial nominee to have familiarity with its rules and procedures.
Moreover, this incident raises questions about the vetting process for Biden's nominees. With several nominees failing to meet the basic qualifications for their positions, it brings into question how thoroughly the administration is reviewing their choices.
Despite Meriweather's lack of knowledge on the grounds for granting a new trial, she still claims to have extensive experience in civil cases. This calls for a closer examination of her experience and whether it is truly sufficient for the position she has been nominated for.
As the hearing continues, it is crucial for the Senate to thoroughly question and vet all of President Biden's nominees to ensure that they are not just checking boxes on a diversity checklist but are actually qualified to hold their positions. The American public deserves competent and knowledgeable officials and staff members who can effectively serve their country.
NOMINEE: Robin Meriweather to the Court of Federal Claims
Judge Meriweather’s experience as a magistrate judge – coupled with her public and private practice experience – have prepared her to serve honorably on the Court of Federal Claims. pic.twitter.com/IgTSmNn1Zv
— Senate Judiciary Committee (@JudiciaryDems) January 24, 2024