Brett Talley, who once defended the Ku Klux Klan and who has never argued a case in federal court, will not get a lifetime federal judicial appointment.

NPR reported on Wednesday afternoon that Talley’s nomination “will not be moving forward,” citing the comment of a White House official following the American Bar Association’s assessment of Talley as “unanimously unqualified” for the position.

The 36-year-old judicial nominee came under intense scrutiny over a series of posts he wrote on the University of Alabama football fan message board, TideFans.com, several years ago. One of those posts was in defense of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and “the first KKK,” which Talley argued was different than the current iteration of the group (it wasn’t). Talley also spoke favorably about sex between a 20-year-old babysitter and a 14-year-old boy.

In addition to his questionable posts on TideFans.com, Talley also failed to disclose that he was married to Ann Donaldson — the chief of staff for White House counsel Don McGahn. Talley’s outright lack of experience in arguing even a single motion in a federal court was also listed as a factor for why his nomination should be withdrawn. Even Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Trump to withdraw Talley’s nomination earlier this week.

As of this writing, the Republican-controlled senate has confirmed 18 federal judges nominated by President Trump, including Neal Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, 11 justices for the U.S. Court of Appeals and six judges for U.S. district courts. There are 41 pending nominations that have yet to be confirmed.

The U.S. Senate remains under Republican control, although Tuesday night’s Alabama special election narrowed Republican control of the chamber to just a 51-49 margin.


Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based freelancer specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.

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