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Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein ID: LFG-2017-0031

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

224 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Sent via: Mail

December 18th, 2017

Re: Opposition to the nomination of Mr. Matthew Spencer Petersen to the United States District Court
for the District of Columbia

Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein,

I am sending you this letter in extreme opposition to the nomination of Mr. Matthew Spencer Petersen
by President Donald Trump as to becoming a federal district court judge for the United States District
Court for the District of Columbia.1 I believe that Mr. Matthew Spencer Petersen is stunningly
incompetent and that he would continue to be stunningly incompetent if he became a federal district
court judge due to him not be able to answer simple questions that federal judges need to be familiar
with.2 For instance, during his nomination hearing, nominee Mr. Matthew Petersen was asked when the
last time he read the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. According to information gathered from watching
the hearing, Mr. Petersen believed that he does not need to be invested in that on a day to day basis.
However, you should know that the federal judge position that he is a nominee for does require the
federal judge to be able to understand and look over the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Mr. Pettersen
was asked when the last time he read the Federal Rules of Evidence. Mr. Petersen replied that
comprehensibly would have been in law school but it appeared that he is not familiar with the Federal
Rules of Evidence.3 Throughout the hearing, Mr. Petersen did not seem to know basic terms that a
federal trial judge would already need to know in order to properly operate his federal courtroom on a
day to day basis.

It is extremely disturbing that Mr. Petersen was nominated for a position in the federal judiciary. This is
because he has not ever tried a case for verdict in any courtroom in the United States, that he has never
tried a jury trial, civil trial, criminal trial, bench trial, in state or in federal court. Mr. Petersen also
appears to have not taken enough depositions, less than 10 it is assumed throughout his career since
1999, and he has never taken a deposition by himself. Mr. Petersen has never argued a motion in any
court, state or federal, in the entire United States. How can members of the public, attorneys, plaintiffs

1
http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/
2
I believe that a nominee for a federal judge position should not have his or her nomination approved if they do
not understand legal terms that federal judges would have to deal with on a daily basis. I also believe that
nominees for the federal judiciary position need to have experience in the courtroom in order to be able to be a
federal judge.
3
Mr. Matthew Spencer Petersen received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the University of Virginia School of
Law. By him comprehensibly only reviewing this when he was in law school, per se in the year of 1999, I do not
believe that there is any way for him to know everything that he reviewed over 18 years ago when he was in law
school. A federal judge needs to be in absolute understanding of what the law is and should not reply on what they
learned, while not seeking to re-review the law, on different things.
or even defendants be assured, assuming that this nomination was confirmed, that Mr. Petersen would
be able to understand the way in which federal courts operate in the United States and that he would
be able to do his job the correct and the proper way.

In conclusion, I want to be extremely clear to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary that
members of the public, including organizations, are extremely upset about a lot of federal judicial
nominees who have been confirmed by this congressional committee. With regard as to Mr. Matthew
Spencer Petersen, I surely hope that we can all agree that he is clearly not qualified to become a federal
judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or in any federal court in the entire
United States. A federal judge needs to have clear understanding of the way in which federal courts of
the United States operate, and of course simple terms that all federal judges need to be familiar with,
including but not limited to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence. I
would also at least believe that someone who has no experience in trying any court cases in civil,
criminal, or in a bench trial, in either state or federal court, is clearly not qualified to be a federal judge.
With this being said, I would strongly and respectfully request that the United States Senate Committee
on the Judiciary reject the life-time appointment of Mr. Matthew Spencer Petersen as a federal judge of
the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, or for any other federal court in the United
States. Being a federal judge is a privilege and is not a constitutional right!

Respectfully,

Isaiah X. Smith4

4
www.isaiahxsmith.com