10 January 2007

The ABA and Judicial Nominees

It's worth reading this article to get an idea of the ABA's powerful influence on the judicial confirmation process. What I find disturbing is the left-leaning prominence of its committee members (keep in mind, the ABA is supposed to be the nonpartisan "national representative of the legal profession" in the U.S.):
John Payton is on the board of People for the American Way, a group vitriolically opposed to President Bush's judicial nominees. He is also a board member of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, which is on the hard Left on racial issues and has fervently opposed President Bush's judicial nominees as well as his two nominees for attorney general. In a 2005 speech, Payton decried the "serious erosion of fundamental legal rights that we cherish and promote as Americans" that has supposedly taken place since 9/11.

Kim Askew is on the board of trustees of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

Marna Tucker is a founding board member of the National Women's Law Center, which promotes "reproductive rights" and publicly opposes judicial nominees who are not committed to its agenda. Tucker has long been an activist within the ABA for feminist causes. A strong ally of Hillary Clinton, she has contributed heavily to her as well as to John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, EMILY's List (the pro-abortion PAC), and other liberal causes.

Teresa Wynn Roseborough is the former chairman and a board member of the American Constitution Society, which describes its mission as "promot[ing] a progressive vision of the Constitution, law and public policy." A political appointee in the Clinton administration, Roseborough publicly stated that "I was so excited about the opportunity to work for a Democratic administration partly because I was so dismayed with what I saw happening to the legal regime under Republican administrations."

Roberta Liebenberg serves on the board of Womens Way, a Philadelphia-based group that, among other things, "fight[s] for . . . reproductive freedom."An admiring profile of her in the Philadelphia Business Journal says that she "pursue[s] law with an activist bent."
To the ABA's credit, it gave both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito the "highest qualified" rating, and when testifying before the Senate Judicial Committee, in response to Senator Kennedy's liberal prodding, responded, "We don't do politics." Well, in that instance, perhaps not; but not so in the case of Michael Wallace, who has asked that President Bush not renominate him to the Fifth Circuit. This article details new Committee Chair Liebenberg's dishonest testimony about the ABA's evaluation of Wallace. Upon being challenged by Ed Whelan to defend her false statements, Liebenberg demonstrates the sort of doublespeak and equivocation that make lawyers look bad. There is a reason the Federalist Society has an arm committed solely to keeping track of the ABA's movements.