Senator John Kennedy Challenges Judicial Nominee on Legal Definitions

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republican Louisiana Senator John Kennedy posed basic legal questions to judicial nominee Sara E. Hill, seeking clarification on the distinctions between a “stay order” and an “injunction.” The exchange took place on Wednesday, and Hill’s response suggested uncertainty on these fundamental legal terms.

Kennedy’s question focused on the core definitions taught early in law schools. When asked to differentiate between a “stay order” and an “injunction,” Hill struggled to provide accurate definitions. She stated, “A stay order would prohibit, um … sorry, an injunction would restrain the parties from taking action … a stay order … I’m not actually sure I can give you that.”

In legal terms, a stay order is typically employed to halt or suspend legal proceedings or actions, most commonly used to stop ongoing litigation. On the other hand, an injunction is a court order requiring an individual to either perform a specific action or cease engaging in a particular activity.

Senator Dick Durbin reportedly acknowledged Hill for “passing the Kennedy bar exam” after the questioning. This marks another instance where Senator Kennedy has posed challenging questions to judicial nominees. In March, he confronted nominee S. Kato Crews with basic inquiries about the U.S. Constitution, legal procedure, and Supreme Court precedents. Additionally, Kennedy left another nominee speechless in May when questioning the potential impact of spending $50 trillion on reducing global temperatures. In September, he grilled Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias over explicit content in school libraries.

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