Biden judicial nominee stumped by basic Constitution questions approved in Senate committee

A President Biden judicial nominee who struggled to answer fundamental questions about the Constitution has advanced through a Senate committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 11 to 10 to advance Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren, a Biden judicial nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. Bjelkengren and two contentious judicial nominees moved on due to Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s return to Congress after battling an illness.  Bjelkengren garnered headlines earlier this year after appearing before the committee, where she said she did not know the answer to some questions from Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy about the Constitution. SEN. KENNEDY STUMPS BIDEN NOMINEE WITH BASIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION “Tell me what Article V of the Constitution does,” Kennedy asked during her January confirmation hearing. “Article V is not coming to mind at the moment,” Bjelkengren responded. “How about Article II?” Kennedy said. “Neither is Article II,” Bjelkengren replied.  Article V of the Constitution involves the amendments process, and Article II invests the executive power in the president of the United States, enumerating the executive branch’s powers.  Bjelkengren’s inability to answer the questions led to widespread ridicule, and it likewise led to condemnation from Republican senators right before her advancement through the judiciary committee. “When Senator Kennedy asked her what Article V of the Constitution was, she had no idea,” Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said before Thursday’s vote. “When Senator Kennedy asked what Article II of the Constitution was, she said, I don’t know.” BIDEN JUDICIAL NOMINEE UNDER FIRE FOR ALLEGED LACK OF LEGAL KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE  “Mind you, Article II is the provision of the Constitution that creates the president, the executive branch of the government,” Cruz said. “Any first-year law student that didn’t know what Article II of the Constitution was would flunk Con law.” “This is not some obscure question about some Latin phrase one should know – this is literally the basic architecture of our Constitution,” Cruz added. The Senate will likely vote on the nominees in the upcoming weeks.
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