Senators were left stunned when Democrat President Joe Biden’s judicial nominee Sara Hill was unable to answer simple questions on basic legal terms during her Senate nomination hearing this week.
Biden has been repeatedly accused of choosing many of his judicial nominees based on their “diversity” and partisan activism rather than their experience and abilities.
Critics argue that many of Biden’s nominees’ knowledge of and adherence to the nation’s body of laws is of little importance to the president.
If confirmed, Hill would be the first Native American federal judge in Oklahoma’s history.
That was embarrassingly evident on Wednesday when Sara Hill, nominated by Biden to serve as a federal district judge in Oklahoma, failed to answer a question during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about basic legal terms.
As Fox News reported, the simple questions were those that any first-year law student should know.
The stunning failure to define what a “stay” and an “injunction” are, which some would argue is disqualifying for a would-be federal judge, came during a sort of rapid-fire quiz on basic knowledge of the Constitution and legal terms.
The questioning was led by committee member Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who likes to spring a rapid-fire quiz on judicial nominees during confirmation hearings.
The Washington Examiner reported that at one point during Kennedy’s line of questioning for Hill, he asked her to explain the “difference between a stay order and an injunction?”
“A stay — a stay order would prohibit, um — sorry — an injunction would restrain the parties from taking action — a stay order — I’m not sure that I actually, can give you the — that,” Hill said in reply.
As any first-year law student could tell you, a stay order typically places a particular court ruling on hold temporarily while the proceedings continue.
Whereas an injunction generally prohibits certain parties in a case from taking certain actions, either temporarily or permanently.
Judicial nominee Hill managed to answer some of Sen. Kennedy’s basic legal questions but also stumbled on a few others.
After Kennedy’s time had concluded, committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) jokingly congratulated the nominee for “surviving the John Kennedy six-minute bar exam.”
Hill replied with obvious embarrassment: “My contracts teacher is going to be appalled, and I’m gonna have to live with that.”
In reaction to that moment during the hearing, conservative Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino tweeted a short video clip of Hill’s inability to explain the difference between a stay order and an injunction and wrote on Twitter/X:
“How can an individual who wants to be a federal judge possibly not know this?”
She added, in reference to the Democrat chairman’s joking remarks, “Senator Durbin even congratulated Hill afterward for ‘passing the Kennedy bar exam’ — talk about grading on a curve!”
Severino’s tweet was shared by The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, who observed:
“What Biden’s judicial nominees lack in understanding of the law, they make up for multiple times over in radicalism.”
Sen. Kennedy did not address that specific moment during an appearance Thursday on the Ruthless podcast but did discuss the difference in how Democrats and Republicans view the judiciary and judicial nominees, with the former looking for “politicians in robes” and partisan activists while the latter seek individuals with judicial experience and knowledge of the laws.
When Pres. Biden nominates activists to judgeships, my Democrat colleagues don’t do anything about it. pic.twitter.com/REUZtNx4jn
— John Kennedy (@SenJohnKennedy) November 16, 2023
“You see it in President Biden’s nominees” to the federal judiciary at the circuit and district court levels, Kennedy said.
Although he has voted to confirm a few who were clearly qualified to serve, the senator added:
“Many of President Biden’s appointees to the lower courts — they’re activists who happen to be lawyers.”