KKK Defender Whose Judicial Nomination Went Down in Flames Is a Federal Prosecutor Now

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Last year, Brett Talley withdrew his name for a nomination to the federal bench after it was discovered that he operated a prolific account on a message board where, among other things, he defended the Ku Klux Klan and joked about statutory rape. Talley, however, apparently had a pretty sweet gig to fall back on at the totally-not-racist Justice Department run by the totally-not-racist Jeff Sessions.

Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer reports:

After outcry about the comments and his general lack of qualifications for the job—Talley had never tried a case—he withdrew from consideration for the judgeship in December. But the controversy didn’t send him packing to Alabama. Instead, he simply continued working as deputy associate attorney general at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, where he oversaw the judicial nominations unit that advises the president and attorney general on the selection and confirmation of federal judges and conducts the vetting, interviewing, and evaluating of nominees. This spring, he moved to a more junior position at the Justice Department, as an assistant US attorney.


That’s right: Talley—someone who thinks Confederate war criminal Nathan Bedford Forrest was a fundamentally good guy—oversaw nominations to the federal bench. Talley had previously never tried a case, and was determined unanimously by the American Bar Association to be “not qualified” for a federal judgeship.


The only qualification that this guy had for this job, or really any job that isn’t professional ghosthunter, is that he is very loyal to Donald Trump. And after his nomination went down in disgrace—he withdrew his own name in December—he went right back to this job helping to pick the absolute worst people imaginable for lifetime appointments in the federal judiciary, a job he held until just a few weeks ago. (Talley denied, in a response to a Senate inquiry, that he played a role in his own nomination.)


Here’s the details of Talley’s new gig, per Mother Jones:

In May, Talley made an unusual career move. Though he had virtually no experience handling criminal cases, he is now working as an assistant US attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, prosecuting low-level immigration and drug cases. It’s just the kind of entry-level federal position someone aspiring to be a judge someday might angle for. A Justice Department spokesperson wouldn’t say why he made the job change, and Talley didn’t respond to a request for comment.


As Mencimer implies, the 36-year-old Talley is now in a position to make an example out of low-level, nonviolent offenders in order to show that he’s tough-enough-on-crime to get another appointment. Which is great news, considering it’s far from unprecedented for a white nationalist employee of the Justice Department to get rejected for one job and then, later on, to get an even more important one. Dreams do come true.