Biden nominee raked over coals by Sen. Kennedy one of two to withdraw name from consideration

 January 11, 2024

Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren, President Joe Biden's nominee to serve in the Eastern District of Washington, is one of two embattled Biden nominees who withdrew their names from consideration after they expired at the end of 2023 without being confirmed. 

“I asked the President not to re-nominate me due to the uncertainty of my confirmation, and in order to advance the important work of the federal judiciary,” Bjelkengren wrote in a statement to Reuters. “My hope is for the swift confirmation of the next nominee.”

Bjelkengren was called out by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) on Wednesday in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

“Biden sent us a nominee who didn’t know the basics of the U.S. Constitution,” he wrote. “Judge Bjelkengren is right to bow out. Unfortunately, Biden just keeps trying to put unqualified people on the bench — for life. People who don’t know the law have no business running our courtrooms.”

"Not coming to mind"

Kennedy had questioned Bjelkengren during a confirmation hearing in January 2023 and found that she didn't know basic information about the Constitution, which she would ostensibly be required to defend as a federal judge with a lifetime appointment.

"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.

No vote

Even though Bjelkengren was an embarrassment in her lack of constitutional knowledge, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 10 to advance her nomination to the full Senate in May. She was apparently never brought up for a vote.

A total of five Biden nominees expired at the end of the year that were not renominated by Biden for 2024.

Colleen Holland of Rochester, New York also asked to be withdrawn for personal reasons, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who recommended Holland for nomination, accepted her request and said he would move forward with other nominees.

The other three were Mississippi DA Scott Colom, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Todd Edelman, who was nominated to be a federal judge in Washington, and San Diego Superior Court Judge Marian Gaston, nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Colom was blocked by a state senator from his own state.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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