After her recent failure to answer simple questions about Constitution, President Biden’s nominee in Washington for federal judgeship is under intense scrutiny.
Judge Charnelle Jeldgren of Spokane County Superior Court was the focus of attention last month when she was confirmed to the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Washington.
Bjelkengren, who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee was asked basic questions about the Constitution.
“Tell me about Article V of our Constitution,” asked Senator John Kennedy, R.La.
Bjelkengren replied, “Article V does not come to mind at this moment.”
“How about Article II?” Kennedy pressed.
Bjelkengren acknowledged that Article II is not the same as Article I.
Kennedy asked Bjelkengren (a Gonzaga University School of Law graduate) to define “purposivism,” a method of interpreting statutory laws. Bjelkengren was similarly unable to answer.
She said that she was not confronted with the exact question in her 12 years as assistant attorney general and nine years as a judge. “We are Washington’s highest trial court, so I am often faced with issues I don’t know about. I review the law thoroughly, research and then apply the law to the facts.”
This embarrassing incident quickly became viral. Similar incident happened in 2017 when Matthew Petersen (a lawyer nominated to serve as a Federal Judge by President Trump) couldn’t answer basic legal queries. Petersen withdrew his nomination.
Biden is still nominating Bjelkengren, but she may be subject to further scrutiny that could put her nomination in jeopardy.
Bjelkengren’s experience is at issue, in addition to her legal knowledge.
Bjelkengren was required to list the “10 most important litigated matters that you have handled” on her Senate Judiciary questionnaire. Bjelkengren only listed six cases, one of which was a case in which she lost to a person who had no legal counsel and was representing herself.
Federal law has never been a focus of this judge’s professional career. On the Senate floor, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), stated that she has never appeared in federal court. Is this the kind of legal expert President Biden will be filling the federal bench with? For lifetime appointments? Are merit and excellence truly that low?
Bjelkengren was an assistant attorney general for Washington state for many years. Primarily, she was an administrative judge. She represented the Department of Licensing at drivers’ license revocation hearings.
Bjelkengren, if confirmed, would become the first Black woman and first person of color to be appointed to the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Washington. Critics have attacked the Biden administration’s alleged preference for diversity over merit.
Fox News Digital founder and president Mike Davis said that this is what happens when diversity, so-called “equity”, and experience and qualifications are prioritized over other qualities. “Charnelle Bielkengren does not have the right to fill a lifetime seat on a federal bench. She was unable to answer the basic questions that first-year law students should have about the Constitution. This should immediately be disqualified.
Davis, who was formerly chief counsel for nominations to Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), noted that Bjelkengren could not list the minimum number cases that were requested by the committee before reiterating that he believes the nominee isn’t qualified.
He stated that Bjelkengren is not qualified, experienced, or ready to serve. “Her nomination is solely a result having the right politics and the right demographics as well as the right friends.”
Patty Murray (D-Wash.), publicly supported Bjelkengren’s nomination, beyond the Biden administration.
McConnell stated that “For years now, Washington Democrats have treated actual qualifications as an afterthought.” “Democrats weren’t particularly moved or impressed by the high-skilled academic brilliance or professional excellence that the nominees of the Republican administration had in abundance.” They don’t seem to regard these qualities as high priority now that they are the ones nominating.
McConnell played a key role in the confirmation by the Senate of a record number of Judges nominated to this position by President Trump.
Top Senate Republican, Ted Cruz, also condemned the Biden administration as “siding against American people, against Constitution, and against the rule of Law.” He listed several instances in which the courts have reacted to administration policies in each case.
Fox News Digital reached out to Bjelkengren and the White House for comment. Fox News Digital was informed by the White House that Biden, despite his failure to confirm Bjelkengren, is proudly supporting his nominee for judicial office.