ABA Rates Roberts "Well Qualified":
The American Bar Association has announced that they are giving John Roberts a unanimous rating of "Well Qualified," the ABA's highest rating. It would have been really funny if the ABA had rated him "Over Qualified" instead, but I guess the ABA isn't known for its sense of humor. Link via Howard.
I thought the ABA's endorsement wasn't considered relevant by the GOP any more. Or is it only relevant if it's a good one?

I concur that "Over Qualified" would have been a more accurate rating, given Roberts' outstanding resume. If he's going to meet opposition, it won't be because he's not a very smart judge.
8.17.2005 11:34pm
42USC1983 (mail):
No surprise there, 'eh? Next, when Janice Brown is nominated, they can attack her. "But we rated John Roberts well qualified!" Of course they rated Roberts' well qualified, since resistance is, as they say, futile.
8.18.2005 12:52am
perhaps the ABA isn't known for its sense of humor, but orin kerr is known for his. or at least ought to be.
8.18.2005 12:56am
John Jenkins (mail):
I think the actual GOP position is that the ABA's endorsement or lack thereof should be given no more or loess consideration than the endorsement of any other lobbying group.

It is no secret that the ABA trends leftward (but we're not talking NARAL here), so the endorsement of Roberts by the ABA is more meaningful than his endorsement by, say the Federalist Society (if they do such things).

Conversely, if a left-leaning Democratic president nominated a left-leaning justice, a well qualified rating or its equivalent from the Federalist Society would be more meaningful than one by ACS or the ABA.

It's not just the message, but the messenger as well.
8.18.2005 1:08am
I've spent the last two decades hearing that every single institution in American society trends leftward, so yeah, I'm sure that's it.
8.18.2005 1:24am
CrazyTrain (mail):
Orin, your man-crush on Roberts is really funny. . . .
8.18.2005 2:05am
Shelby (mail):
c'mon, CT, any man whose son can dance like that is worth crushin' on.

Oh, wait, is this one of those Ron Reagan things?
8.18.2005 2:28am
Robert Schwartz (mail):
Steve, that would be less humorous to you if you paid the $500/yr annual dues to the jerks.
8.18.2005 2:45am
You assume many things, my friend. Besides, Prof. Kerr has given us the gift of laughter with this post, and it would be rude to decline the honor.
8.18.2005 2:51am
John Jenkins (mail):
Steve, I don't know about every institution in "American Society", we're talking about the ABA. You might disagree, but that doesn't make me wrong, sarcasm notwithstanding. Is it your position that the ABA is not a left-leaning organization? [Incidentally, I think one can make a colorable argument that over the last 20-30 years most American institutions have moved leftward; you seem to think that's a bad thing; at least enough to argue against it - why?]
8.18.2005 9:16am
It just gets old hearing it over and over and over again. I've never seen any evidence that the ABA does a poor job of rating judges, which ought to be the real issue.
8.18.2005 9:55am
Scipio (mail) (www):
On Morning Sedition, the news announcement guy had an entertaining Freudian slip when discussing this story: he said that "Supreme Court nominee John Roberts has cleared another hurdle in the confrontation process."
8.18.2005 10:30am
Larry (mail) (www):
Scipio, That probably is true. An ABA endorsement will relieve many people's fears that he isn't a partisan political hack.
8.18.2005 10:40am
Paul Rosenzweig (mail):

In 2001 James Lindgren (Prof. NW Law School) wrote an article entitled "Examining the American Bar Associations's Ratings of Nominees to the US Courts of Appeals for Political Bias" 17 J. Law &Pol. 1 (2001). He concluded that after controlling for educational credentials and non-judicial experience ABA rankings significantly favored Clinton nominees over Bush nominees. An op-ed summary of his paper is available at

If you are interested, you might also read the response from Professors Saks and Vidmar in 19 J. Law &Pol 177 (2003) in which the contested the claim. I think Lindgren gets the better of the debate.
8.18.2005 3:02pm
wave maker (mail) (www):
Steve: "It just gets old hearing it over and over and over again. I've never seen any evidence that the ABA does a poor job of rating judges, which ought to be the real issue."

Er...when 4 of the 15 members of the committee can, with a straight face, rate Robert Bork as "unqualified," there's a fair chance they did so based solely on ideology, don't you think?

For a thorough look at their track record, try this link
8.19.2005 8:55am
cfw (mail):
Why not have Roberts run for Presidency? At least we should have a good idea where he stands on issues, once we go through his 13+ file drawers of papers. Presumably he could do well in debates.
8.21.2005 11:04pm