Watch: Biden Judicial Nominee Stumped By Basic Legal Question
A Senate judiciary nomination hearing exposed a Biden nominee's alarming lack of fundamental knowledge of US law. This was no "gotcha" question about some obscure aspect of jurisprudence -- it related to a basic rule that's guided criminal law for the past 60 years and is familiar to plenty of well-informed laymen.
The nominee is Kato Crews, whom Biden has put forward for the US District Court for the District of Colorado. His jarring knowledge gap was exposed Wednesday when Louisiana Senator John Kennedy asked him how he would analyze a "Brady motion."
That's a reference to the "Brady rule," which sprang from the 1963 Supreme Court case, Brady v Maryland. It requires prosecutors to give defendants information the government holds and that could aid in their defense.
Even your humble Tyler Durden, without any formal legal education, knew what "Brady" requires, simply from previous reading about various trials. Others have learned it from TV dramas: The Brady rule has made appearances in about a dozen episodes of Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU alone.
However, when he was asked about it, the Honorable Judge Crews paused, looked up in the air for a few seconds and said, "In my four and half years on the bench, I don't believe I've had the occasion to address a Brady motion."
When asked, "Do you know what a Brady motion is?", Crews sidestepped by repeating nearly verbatim what he'd already said.
An attempt to jog Crews' memory didn't work. "Do you recall the US Supreme Court case Brady v Maryland?" asked Kennedy. Crews merely claimed he recalled "the name of the case."
Things took a darkly humorous turn when Kennedy asked what the Supreme Court held in the case. Apparently hoping to get lucky on this game show -- and perhaps trying to infer what Brady was about based on the Southern country drawl of his GOP questioner -- Crews said, "I believe the Brady case involved something regarding the Second Amendment."
Fair-minded observers can reasonably and empathetically cringe when legislators ask nominees exceedingly technical questions from the field they're about to hold responsibility for. For example, earlier this month, Biden's nominee to head the FAA had no answer when Senator Ted Budd asked, "Are you familiar with the difference between Part 107 and Part 44809 when it comes to unmanned aerial standards?"
Kennedy's Brady questions were nothing like that.
I’m not particularly a criminal law guy. Never written a Brady motion. Never read one. Never argued one. Never heard one argued. I’ve never even read the case.— Andrew Ligon Fant (@AndrewLigonFant) March 23, 2023
But I know the Brady rule off the top of my head.
I don’t understand how he wouldn’t know that.
Even lefty Bloomberg's Supreme Court reporter was aghast:
Oh my.— Kimberly Robinson (@KimberlyRobinsn) March 22, 2023
Kato Crews, a magistrate judge in Denver who’s been selected for a district court seat there, couldn’t define a Brady motion and how to analyze it at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. https://t.co/YYzXG97CIZ
ZeroHedge readers may recall that, earlier this month, lawyers for a January 6 defendant cited Brady when moving for his case to be dismissed. That motion came after Tucker Carlson aired video footage that his lawyers called "plainly exculpatory" -- and which had been withheld by the government.
How apropos that a Biden nominee wouldn’t know what a Brady Motion is! When your administration prosecutes political opponents- you really don’t care about Brady violations or exculpatory evidence. I guess the ACLU doesn’t care to weigh in on Brady Motions at this time… https://t.co/Xfr9gdBSeJ— Sigal Chattah (@Chattah4Nevada) March 22, 2023
Crews has been a U.S. magistrate judge for the District of Colorado since 2018. His career started with a year at the National Labor Relations Board, where he investigated and prosecuted claims of unfair labor practices, before spending 17 years defending employers in civil suits.
He studied law -- well, to some extent, anyway -- at the University of Arizona. His nomination has attracted endorsements from a black bar association, the Asian Pacific Bar Association of Colorado, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, and a former Teamsters Union rep.
In a letter submitted to the Senate judiciary committee, a group of civil rights lawyers explicitly touted Crews' skin color as a qualifier: "Magistrate Judge Crews is the District’s first Black Magistrate Judge and we believe it fitting he be nominated to fill a seat vacated by a Judge of color."
He isn’t the first Biden nominee to the federal bench who doesn’t know basic things that are taught in an Intro to the Constitution class.— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 22, 2023
But at least they’re full of diversity. pic.twitter.com/QcY8jeoOAw