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ABA Gives Sotomayor Its Highest Ranking

By Jerry Markon

The American Bar Association, a leading but sometimes controversial voice in evaluating the nation’s judiciary, today gave Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor its highest ranking.

In a letter to White House counsel Gregory Craig, the ABA said its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary had unanimously concluded that Sotomayor is “well qualified” to replace retiring Justice David H. Souter.

The one-paragraph letter did not spell out the ABA’s criteria, but the organization said it considers the integrity, professional competence and “judicial temperament” of nominees but not their judicial philosophy or ideology.

With more than 400,000 members, the ABA has been influential in the judicial selection process for decades. But some conservatives have long contended the organization has a liberal orientation that shades its candidate ratings.

President George W. Bush caused a stir among congressional Democrats and liberal organizations in 2001 when he discontinued a half-century tradition in which presidents relied on the ABA for advice on potential candidates for federal judgeships. The group had provided direct advice to the White House since 1952.

President Obama recently restored the ABA’s pre-nomination advisory role. Even so, the ABA has not received advance word of Supreme Court nominees for at least a quarter-century, and a spokeswoman said today the organization began evaluating Sotomayor after she was nominated.

The ABA gave the same top rankings to the Bush Supreme Court nominees who were eventually confirmed: John G. Roberts Jr., now the chief justice, and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Also today, the National Rifle Association said it has “very serious concerns” about the nomination of Sotomayor, now a federal appeals court judge in New York. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the organization said the cases in which Sotomayor has participated have been “dismissive of the Second Amendment... Therefore, we believe that America’s eighty million gun owners have good reason to worry about her views.’’

By Eric Rich  |  July 7, 2009; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  Supreme Court  
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Next: Witness List for Sotomayor Hearing Announced


Is there some part of "regulated militia" that was missed by the NRA. DC law fell under the purvey of the Supreme Court, state regulated militias do not. It is constitutionally mandated state law regulating it's militia concerning the individual's right to bear arms. This attack on her has precedence in her favor in holding up NY law.

Posted by: jameschirico | July 11, 2009 6:09 AM | Report abuse

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