President Donald Trump is once again embroiled in controversy after one of his judicial nominations failed to mention his marriage to White House Legal Counsel Don McGahn’s Chief of Staff, Ann Donaldson. Rather than “draining the swamp” it appears Trump seems to be doing rather a good job of refilling it. Brett J. Talley is married to Donaldson, who is linked to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the signs are that this nomination looks bad, to say the least.
Part of Talley’s application process demands to find out whether he has any potential conflicts of interest regarding family members. His failure to disclose his spouse’s identity means that he seemingly answered in the negative. The obvious worry is that this glaring omission is not by accident. Talley, on the surface at least, appears to be attempting to hide his potential conflict of interest in order to win the nomination.
That’s nothing new for this White House, or indeed for this entire administration.
Having served as Deputy Solicitor General for the state of Alabama, it is widely known that Talley has never tried a case. This is, of course, a hugely contentious issue with those who oppose the nomination, not to mention those who believe judges should actually be, you know, judges. There is certain to be pressure to find out why an alternative wasn’t sought out.
In the history of judicial nominees, there have only ever been 6 who have been classified as “unqualified” by the American Bar Association — and President Trump has nominated four of them. Talley fits the mold of the young white conservatives who seem to make up a large number of Trump’s appointments. The metaphorical swamp is teeming with those who are sympathetic to his cause. A huge fan of sycophants, Trump has a thin ego and seeks to surround himself with people who will bend to his will. It certainly looks like Talley will fit right in.
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