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Trump nominates former Mitt Romney speech writer for federal judgeship

He’s an author of horror novels, a former speechwriter for Mitt Romney, and a Harvard Law graduate who says on his website that he studied in “witch-haunted Massachusetts.”

And if President Trump has his way, Brett Joseph Talley will add federal judge to his resume.

The White House announced Thursday that Trump had nominated Talley, a Justice Department lawyer, for a judgeship on the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Talley’s nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

In addition to his Massachusetts ties, the Alabama native has a more colorful online presence than many candidates for the federal bench. Talley, 36, describes himself on Twitter as a “Lawyer, Bram Stoker Award nominated horror writer, Christian” and adds, “It takes all kinds. Roll Tide.”


His books include “He Who Walks in Shadow,” “That Which Should Not Be,” and “The Reborn.” An Amazon review of “The Reborn” says the protagonist returns home from war to “a brave new world where reincarnation is scientific fact and a simple blood test can reveal exactly who a person will be even before they are born. But when he is chosen for an elite unit that punishes people for their crimes in a past life and stops crime before it starts, Ryder begins to question what he knows about morality and justice.”

Talley’s personal website says he has eclectic literary tastes.

“Brett loves every kind of fiction — from horror to literary to historical to sci-fi — as long as there are fantastic characters with a compelling purpose,” the site says.

He previously tackled writing assignments of a less fantastical hue that were linked to the “witch-haunted” state he called home for a season.

The Trump administration noted that Talley served as an editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy while enrolled in law school and also worked as a senior writer for Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.


In addition, Talley published an op-ed on CNN’s website in May of last year urging Republicans to “unite behind” Trump heading into the general presidential election.

He even moonlights as a film critic.

In a glowing review of Wes Craven’s “Nightmare on Elm Street,” Talley wrote that he could not recommend the slasher flick “with too much zeal.”

Talley’s nomination is intriguing in part because Romney, his former boss, has emerged as a leading Republican critic of Trump. Last month, Romney blasted Trump for his initial remarks on the tumult in Charlottesville, Va., when the president said “both sides” were to blame for violence between white supremacists and counterprotesters that left one counterdemonstrator dead.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.