Matthew Petersen, a nominee to be a judge at the federal district court in Washington, D.C., is a former chief counsel to a Senate committee and a Federal Election Commission commissioner, which is why his failure to answer basic legal questions in a hearing this week made headlines.

Petersen, nominated by President Donald Trump in September, was rated ”qualified” by the American Bar Association. Yet, faced with a pop quiz in his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday from Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, Petersen was unable to answer basic legal questions. Asked to define a “motion in limine,” Petersen replied he couldn’t give a “good definition” in the moment. He flubbed Daubert standard, too.

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