Brett J. Talley, the lawyer who has never tried a case but somehow got a lifetime appointment to the federal judgeship, forgot to mention something during his vetting.
One of President Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees did not disclose on publicly available congressional documents that he is married to a senior lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office.
The nominee, Brett J. Talley, is awaiting a Senate confirmation vote that could come as early as Monday to become a federal district judge in Alabama. He is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II.
Mr. Talley was asked on his publicly released Senate questionnaire to identify family members and others who are “likely to present potential conflicts of interest.” He did not mention his wife.
District judges often provide the first ruling when laws are called into question, decisions that can put them at odds with the White House and its lawyers. Last month, for example, judges in Hawaii and Maryland temporarily blocked Mr. Trump’s travel ban.
Mr. Talley also did not mention his wife when he described his frequent contact with White House lawyers during the nomination process.
Democrats have strongly criticized the nomination of Mr. Talley, a 36-year-old who has never tried a case and who received a rare “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. His nomination advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday on a party-line vote.
In the real world, that’s a big oops. In the Trump world, that’s a part of the deal.