Federal District Court nominee Charnelle Marie Bjelkengren appeared to struggle with the most basic of questions during her Thursday morning hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, failing to recall the purpose of both Article V and Article II of the United States Constitution.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) attempted to keep his questions simple, asking directly what Article V and Article II of the Constitution were designed to do — but Bjelkengren could not come up with an answer to either question.
Q: “Judge, tell me what article V of the Constitution does?”
Biden judicial nominee: “Article V is not coming to mind at the moment.”
“How about article II?”
Nominee: “Neither is Article II”
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) January 26, 2023
After offering his congratulations to the nominees, Kennedy jumped straight into the questioning.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and congratulations to all of you,” he began. “Judge … on the far end. Tell me what Article V of the Constitution does.”
After a brief pause, Bjelkengren replied, “Article V is not coming to mind at the moment.”
Article V details the proper process and procedure surrounding proposed amendments and how they can be passed, ratified, and added to the U.S. Constitution.
“How about Article II?” Kennedy tried again.
“Neither is Article II,” was Bjelkengren’s response.
Article II of the Constitution defines the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government: how the president is elected — and by whom; the qualifications for and duties of the office; what the president’s powers are; who succeeds the president; and the impeachment process.
“Okay,” Kennedy replied, scratching his head before moving on. “Do you know what purposivism is?”
“In my 12 years as an assistant attorney general and my nine years serving as a judge, I was not faced with that precise question,” she said. “We are the highest trial court in Washington State, so I’m frequently faced with issues that I’m not familiar with, and I thoroughly review the law. I research and apply the law to the facts presented to me.”
“Well, you’re going to be faced with it if you’re confirmed, I can assure you of that,” Kennedy warned.
Purposivism, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as follows: “any of various theories of nature or of human and animal behavior that regard purpose or conscious intent as a basal fact.”
Biden nominated Bjelkengren to serve as U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Washington — on the advice of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).