The American Bar Association announced Friday that it gave the rating of “Well Qualified” to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh will begin the confirmation process in September. He will be the second Trump-nominated justice on the Supreme Court if he is confirmed.
The Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has released its evaluation of Brett Kavanaugh; it is a unanimous Well-Qualified (PDF): https://t.co/zmKQHoEceS
More on the judicial ranking process here (PDF): https://t.co/WaErF3ydRf
— American Bar Association (@ABAesq) August 31, 2018
The ABA’s rating of “Well Qualified” is the highest rating that their organization gives.
“To merit the Committee’s rating of ‘Well Qualified,’ a Supreme Court nominee must be a pre-eminent member of the legal profession, have outstanding legal ability and exceptional breadth of experience, and meet the very highest standards of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament,” the organization’s website explains.
“The rating of ‘Well Qualified’ is reserved for those found to merit the Committee’s strongest affirmative endorsement.”
This rating came as a surprise to some conservatives because of the reputation the ABA has as a left-leaning organization.
Late last year Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., wrote an Op-Ed calling out the ADA for its liberal bias.
“The American Bar Association is not neutral,” Sasse said. “The ABA is a liberal organization that has publicly and consistently advocated for left-of-center positions for more than two decades now. The ABA has no right to special treatment by members of this body.”
Sasse drove his point home with multiple examples of the ABA’s liberal bias, but confirmed that the organization was “absolutely allowed to do this.”
Kavanaugh’s glowing report from the predominantly liberal organization has encouraged conservatives that Trump’s nominee could be far enough above reproach to make it to the coveted seat on the highest court in the land.
Following today’s announcement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reminded Democrats that two of their own, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, had wholeheartedly backed the ABA’s rating system.
According to its website, the ABA has three possible ratings for a judicial candidate to receive from their organization: “Well Qualified,” “Qualified” and “Not Qualified.”
The ABA’s committee that makes these judgments is made up of 15 members. Two members are from the Ninth Circuit and one member from each of the other federal judicial circuits, as well as the chair of the committee.
“The President of the ABA appoints members for staggered three-year terms; and, no member may serve more than two terms. Appointment to the Committee is based on a lawyer’s possession of the highest professional stature and integrity. The members have varied professional experiences and backgrounds.”
According to the majority leader’s website, Schumer and Leahy have previously called the ABA’s evaluation of a judicial candidate “the gold standard by which judicial candidates are judged.”
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