The ABA Responds to my op-ed in the New York Times

The ABA does not contradict a single one of the facts that I put forward in my New York Times op-ed. They also misinterpret what I wrote. I did not say that Roberts and Alito got ratings that were higher than they deserve. What I wrote was that the ratings for Republican nominees were particularly low relative to Democrats when there was a Republican President and a Democratic Senate.

Federal Court Nominees
New York Times

Published: February 4, 2006
To the Editor:

We dispute the description in "Pulling Rank," by John R. Lott Jr. (Op-Ed, Jan. 25), of what the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary does and what it does not do.

Democrats and Republicans, and Americans, want individuals nominated to the federal bench who are professionally qualified, which is why President Dwight Eisenhower asked the American Bar Association to evaluate the professional qualifications of his prospective judicial nominees. And why Democrats and Republicans since then have looked to our Standing Committee for nonpartisan peer evaluations.

Our only goal is to advance the fair and impartial administration of justice by helping to assure an independent and qualified judiciary. What the committee has never considered is a nominee's ideology. It focuses only on three areas: professional competence, judicial temperament and integrity.

To suggest that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. were given the American Bar Association's highest rating for cynical and tactical reasons is an insult to the judges themselves. They gained the committee's highest rating for one reason only: they earned it.

Michael S. Greco
American Bar Association
Washington, Feb. 2, 2006

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