Bush’s ABA Flip-Flop

Yesterday, President Bush again called for up or down votes on several of his extreme right wing nominees to federal courts. In the second sentence of his statement he noted:

[Justice Priscilla Owen and Judge Terry Boyle] have been rated well-qualified by the American Bar Association, the highest ABA rating a judicial nominee can receive.

It’s interesting that President Bush would place such high value on ratings issued by the ABA, when way back in March of 2001 his own administration excluded the ABA from their traditional pre-approval role in the nominations that dated back to Eisenhower in 1953. An Associated Press story at the time noted:

Bush’s decision to kick the ABA out of the nomination process was driven largely by Capitol Hill conservatives still bitter over the failure of President Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. Many conservatives see the ABA as liberal-leaning and blame its mixed review of Bork’s qualifications for his rejection by the Senate.

Even Bush’s father stuck by the ABA — not a single one of his 194 nominations to the federal bench were rated “unqualified” by the organization. But the current President Bush has chosen to rely on ultra-right organizations like the Federalist Society to evaluate his choices.

– Theo LeCompte