In Congress

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Biden Nominee Who Couldn’t Answer Basic Constitutional Questions

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a Biden nominee for federal court Thursday who failed to answer basic constitutional questions during her confirmation hearing.

Charnelle Bjelkengren, judge for the Spokane County Superior court and nominee for the Eastern District of Washington, could not recall the contents of Articles II and V of the Constitution when asked by Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy during her confirmation hearing in January. With Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein out recovering from shingles, the committee had been unable to secure enough votes to advance her nomination for weeks.

Now that Feinstein has returned, the Committee was able to advance her nomination, along with five others, to the full Senate. Three of the nominees — Bjelkengren, Colorado district judge nominee S. Kato Crews and Southern District of California judge nominee Marian Gaston —were advanced without a single Republican vote.

Crews did not know what a Brady motion was when Kennedy asked how he would analyze one during his hearing, and Gaston was pressed on past writings that proposed eliminating laws banning sex offenders from living near schools.

“[Bjelkengren] may well have the title for the least qualified nominee I’ve seen in eleven years serving on this committee,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said during the hearing.

“This is not some obscure question about some obscure Latin phrase no one should know,” Cruz continued. “This is literally the basic architecture of our constitution.”

Other nominees advanced Thursday include Northern District of Illinois nominee Jeremy Daniel, District of Maryland nominee Brendan Hurson and Eastern District of Louisiana nominee Darrel Papillion.

Michael Arthur Delaney, First Circuit Court of Appeals nominee, was also listed on the agenda but was again held over.

Delaney has faced criticism for allegedly intimidating a teenage sexual assault victim while defending St. Paul’s School against her lawsuit. Some Democrats have also questioned him for backing a New Hampshire parental notification law for abortion in 2005, according to AP News.

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Katelynn Richardson

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Katelynn Richardson

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