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ABA Collaborates with Democrats to Undermine Bush Judicial Nominees

Although we've always known the ABA was a liberal organization, it at least attempted to look objective in its assessments of Bush's judicial nominees. Well, now the ABA has decided to throw all pretenses out the window with its "unqualified" rating of Michael Wallace, whose credentials are impeccable. Power Line explains:

It's official: the American Bar Association is off the reservation. After several years of relatively good behavior, it has now drawn its knives and enlisted in the Democrats' 2006 campaign. Today, the ABA's judicial qualifications panel opined unanimously that Michael Wallace, nominated to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, is "unqualified" for the post.

This is ridiculous. Wallace's bio is here. He graduated from Harvard and (at the top of his class) the University of Virginia Law School. He clerked for the Mississippi Supreme Court, and for Justice Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court. President Reagan appointed Wallace to head the Legal Services Corporation. For some years, Wallace has had what appears to be a top-notch litigation practice, with an appellate focus, in Jackson, Mississippi.

Based on Wallace's resume, there are two reasons why the Democrats at the ABA consider him "unqualified." The first is that he is a Republican. He is General Counsel of the Mississippi Republican Party, and--no doubt a key fact--he served as Special Impeachment Counsel to then-Majority Leader Trent Lott for the impeachment trial of President Clinton. The second reason is that Wallace is from Mississippi. I doubt whether the ABA would dare to pull the same stunt with a Northerner.

With this nakedly political move, the American Bar Association has once again forfeited any claim to credibility.

The American Thinker says that the ABA downgraded Brett Kavanaugh's rating for political reasons as well:

Kavanaugh's ABA rating was downgraded upon the word of Marna Tucker, a D.C. lawyer with longstanding ties to Hillary Clinton who had long had a hold on his confirmation for the reason he served under Ken Starr on the Whitewater investigation.

So, this is the tack the Dems, in collaboration with the ABA, are going to use to undermine the rest of President Bush's judicial nominees: simply slap them with "unqualified" ratings despite their impeccable education and experience.


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Comments (22)

The ABA has just rendered i... (Below threshold)
Al Shopton:

The ABA has just rendered itself as useless as the UN,MSM and ACLiberalU. truly pathetic childish behavior.

This is but one reason why ... (Below threshold)
Just a Patent Attorney:

This is but one reason why I have allowed my ABA membership to lapse. I have little affinity for the organization, as it does not typically represent any of my core values, and usually falls on the opposite side of many of the important political / legal issues of the day.

This is not surprising -- sad, but not surprising.

This isn't the first time t... (Below threshold)

This isn't the first time they've played this game, if I recall correctly. Anyone got any links to previous episodes?

I'm with Just A Patent Atto... (Below threshold)

I'm with Just A Patent Attorney. Fresh out of law school, and stuffed full of the self-serving propaganda the ABA forces on law students and new lawyers, I joined. It took me a few years to see that the main purpose of the ABA in those days was to keep government and/or "laymen" from interfering in the practice of law.

I came to see ABA programs were essentially aimed at persuading the country that lawyers were swell folks, full of generosity and goodwill, fairly itching to give, protect, defend. It eventually became baldly self-congratulatory. Fair enough: it was a cynical and manipulative thing, but understandable and not out-and-out immoral.

In the mid-1980's the ABA began expressing a preference for criminal defense, and prejudice against the prosecution arm of the criminal justice system. By the mid-1990's the ABA was becoming a voice for judicial and legal activism, and it no longer bothered disguising its partisanship on behalf of liberal and Democratic Party agendas as well.

By the 1990's the politics of judicial nominees was openly seen to matter to the ABA panels which determined their qualifications. With this week's Michael Wallace "unqualified" finding, the ABA's mask of disinteredness is off. When was the last time we saw the ABA declare a liberal Democrat nomine, or a judge who was an activist in favor of liberal causes, "unqualified"? I can't think of one.

Why in the world do we permit an obviously partisan and prejudiced group, which is effectively nothing more than a labor union, to wield what amounts to a veto on officials who may greatly affect its fortunes? There is nothing about a judicial nominee's qualiifcations or reputation which the ABA can learn that the President or Senate cannot. Other interest groups will certainly discover whatever skeletons there may be (too often those skeletons which do not exist and never did). There is no evidence the ABA's judgment is more wise or incisive than that of those in the executive or legislative branches whose Constitutional duty it is to excercise it on judicial nominations.

The ABA leadership holds inordinate power disproportionate to its role in society and the law. There is no Constituional or legal basis to grant the ABA such a uniqe role. The "representation" the ABA claims of the legal profession is laughably false. It stifles dissent among its membership to the point it appears there is none. Sadly, many of those who disagree strongly with its positions left its ranks many years ago.

It's time to recognize the ABA as a politically interested organization, remove it from its lofty perch, and place it among the mass of political partisans. Where it has belonged for almost twenty years.

Extreme left-wing bias is n... (Below threshold)

Extreme left-wing bias is nothing new to the ABA. Anyone remember this?


Which I opined about here:

ABA adds 1 and 1 and gets 5

It's blatantly obvious that the ABA hates the Bush Administration - or probably more correctly, they hate President Bush - and will do anything they can no matter how biased and nonsensical to hurt it.

It's amazing how much one d... (Below threshold)

It's amazing how much one doesn't learn from reading Wizbang! Here's more on the ABA's rejection of Wallace: (link - ABA: Wallace unqualified for seat on federal bench)

Reasons for the rating are expected to be aired at Wallace's confirmation hearing, which Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has yet to schedule. ABA officials are expected to be witnesses.

Before it decides on a rating, the ABA interviews dozens of people while investigating a nominee's professional qualifications, character and general reputation in the legal community.

ABA members say a nominee to the federal bench should have practiced law for at least 12 years and have substantial courtroom and trial experience. Appellate judges also should possess "academic talent" that allows them to write lucidly and persuasively, the ABA says.

A Biloxi native, Harvard University graduate and former aide to Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott, Wallace, 54, has a record of involvement in Mississippi Republican politics and ran unsuccessfully for a state legislative seat.

His nomination has drawn opposition from civil rights groups because he helped Lott lobby on behalf of Bob Jones University.

The then-segregated school was defending its right to take federal tax deductions in a case before the Supreme Court.

Wallace also worked with Lott to require that plaintiffs in voting rights cases prove an intent to discriminate, not just the effects of discrimination.

These issues were raised in the Senate in 1983, when Bush's father appointed Wallace to head the Legal Services Corp., a government agency that provides legal help for the poor.

Lawmakers questioned whether Wallace really believed the poor had a right to free legal help. Wallace assured them he did.

More on Wallace - from <a h... (Below threshold)

More on Wallace - from Bloomberg:

Wallace, 54, a Jackson, Mississippi, lawyer who has served as an aide to Trent Lott, one of the state's two Republican senators, was nominated to a vacancy on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Wallace is opposed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Inc., a New York-based civil rights group.

``He's got a very troubling civil rights background,'' said Leslie Proll, the director of the group's Washington office.


As a congressional aide in the 1980s, Wallace urged the Reagan administration to restore the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University, which had lost the exemption over its history of racial discrimination that included a ban on interracial dating.

As an aide to Lott, then a congressman, Wallace worked against reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in the early 1980s. More recently, he has opposed creation of majority-black voting districts in Mississippi.

The three ABA ratings are qualified, well-qualified and unqualified. Unlike the case of Wallace, whose name is already before the Senate, it isn't clear whether some of the panel's unqualified ratings may have prompted some potential nominees in the past to withdraw before their names were submitted to the Senate.

and a related item near the top of the Bloomberg story:

Bush already is facing calls from Senate Democrats to withdraw another nominee, Terrence Boyle, because he allegedly broke a federal law by buying stock in General Electric Co. while ruling as a trial judge on a case involving the company.

Seven Democratic senators who pledged last year not to block votes on judicial nominees called for a second Judiciary Committee hearing on Boyle. He should be questioned about his stock purchase and other issues or he ``should be withdrawn from further consideration,'' said Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, a member of the group.

It appears we're just seeing a lot more cronysim and pandering from the White House these days... more of the fleecing of America that is taking place as the Republicans grab all they can before they are run out of town in the upcoming elections.

I'm glad these Dems and the ABA have the cajones to "just say no."

There's more to this story.... (Below threshold)

There's more to this story. Schmuck Schumer asked for another hearing from that idiot Spector and got it. Then, after Spector amiably described granting Schumer the hearing, Schumer went out to the press an attacked Kavanuagh. Curiously, it was just at this time that the ABA changed its rating of Kavanaugh. There is little doubt in my mind that there was collusion between Schmuck Schumer and the American Bowling Association to smear Kavanaugh.

Hey Lee, did anyone at the ... (Below threshold)

Hey Lee, did anyone at the DNC bother to tell you that Boyle ruled against GE?

Just curious.

drjohn at May 11, 2006 01:1... (Below threshold)

drjohn at May 11, 2006 01:19 PM

did anyone at the DNC bother to tell you that Boyle ruled against GE?
drjohn, don't try confusing him with facts! 8-}

Sorry, doods, but breaking ... (Below threshold)

Sorry, doods, but breaking the law is breaking the law. Americans shouldn't look at whether Boyle ruled in favor or against GE. You're suggesting he broke the law but it should be ignored because there was "no harm" so "no foul"? The harm is to the American judical system and the integrity of the bench.

Do we want judges who are law-breakers? I don't think so... and that's a fact.

Exactly which law did he br... (Below threshold)

Exactly which law did he break?

I'll be honest with you - t... (Below threshold)

I'll be honest with you - the Clinton impeachment was a travesty, a completely idiotic pissy fit by the right that hated Clinton nearly as much as the lefty moonbats hate Bush, now. It was one of the most blatant, in-your-face, waste of tax money in history.

so, I gotta say, yes, if you were involved in that of your own free will, then you may very well be unqualified for a Court of Appeals appointment.

Remember, actions have consequences. Maybe the right response was "You know Trent, this impeachment thing is complete nonsense and if you folks want to pursue it, be my guest, but not with my help."

Instead he thought it was a swell idea.

The information Lee provide... (Below threshold)
Just a Patent Attorney:

The information Lee provided does little to resolve the issue of whether the downgrade of Wallace was justified or not. The information is mostly guilt through association and or the implication of having dirty hands or a black heart. Without more facts and background concerning these various issues, it is difficult to just accept that Wallace is deserving of an "unqualified" grade in light of his credentials.

Here is one example from the AP article: "The then-segregated school was defending its right to take federal tax deductions in a case before the Supreme Court."

Perhaps there were legitimate reasons that Bob Jones Un. could fight the administrative decision, such as facts not previously known to the body or the court(s), among other possibilities. Of course, the broader implication is that Bob Jones Un. was labeled a "racist" organization, and anyone having the temerity to defend the university's position(s) must also be in political / philosophical harmony with the university as well, with the legal aspects merely an ancillary consideration outside of the general premise.

Consider this, too, from the AP article: "Wallace also worked with Lott to require that plaintiffs in voting rights cases prove an intent to discriminate, not just the effects of discrimination."

How delightfully insidious - Wallace is an ogre b/c he worked with a congressman that advanced the policy argument that plaintiff's must prove intent to discriminate rather than just the effects of discrimination. Of course, there are MANY people in this country, if specifically questioned on this issue, would similarly agree that to prove discrimination one must show intent. That is not unreasonable - but the implication is that the threshold is too great a hurdle for plaintiff's to leap in voting rights cases. Thus, policy disagreement = racist.

The Bloomberg material is no more helpful or insightful: "He's [Wallace] got a very troubling civil rights background." And, Wallace worked against reauthorization of the voting rights act, and opposed creation of majority black voting districts in Miss. What is not stated is "what" is troubling about his civil rights background, why he voted against reauthorization, and why he opposed creation of majority black voting districts. Occassionally, folks have a policy disagreement on such issues, and vote against such measure NOT b/c of racism or some evil intent, but b/c the person believes there is a better mechanism or that the policy(ies) in support of the existing measures fail for various reasons.

When someone is able to find something of substance against Wallace that indicates the man is evil and / or incompetent to hold such a position, then I will be persuaded to side with the ABA on this issue. Until then, the propaganda advanced through implication and basic lack of information is not sufficient.

Well, Lee's rather extensiv... (Below threshold)

Well, Lee's rather extensive evidence is pretty damning... of the ABA. The points he lists are all partisan issues, not ones of professional competency. Unless you equate professional competency with toeing a particular political line, of course.

drjohn: Exactly which la... (Below threshold)

drjohn: Exactly which law did he break?

The allegation is contained in the quotes I included in my comment above.

Clinton appointed a Texas a... (Below threshold)
bob f:

Clinton appointed a Texas attorney named Jorge Rangel (spanish pronounciation) to the 5th Circuit. The problem was he used to be on the ABA commitee and did his hatchet job on several judges that Senator Phil Gramm nominated under Reagan and Bush 41.

Oh yeah...did I mention that Jorge Rangel (spanish pronounciation) also practiced law under the name George Rangel (english spelling and pronounciation).

I used to have the file on George or Jorge's hatchet jobs complete with scheduled and cancelled dates of the interviews with Gramm's judicial nominees....alas I have it no more.

5th Circuit Judge Leonard Davis was a victim of Mr. Rangel. Well, Rangel never got his shot due to Gramm being one of the few Senate Republicans having a backbone.

Allegation != conviction, L... (Below threshold)

Allegation != conviction, Lee.
Sherard, yes, that only 45 senators thought perjury and obstruction of justice were an impeachable offense is indeed a travesty.

"Allegation != convictio... (Below threshold)

"Allegation != conviction, Lee."

Nope, I never said that...

but allegation does = let's investigate before putting this guy on the bench.

Sorry, doods, b... (Below threshold)
Sorry, doods, but breaking the law is breaking the law. Americans shouldn't look at whether Boyle ruled in favor or against GE. You're suggesting ( no, you're suggesting he's a corp. pander monkey who always favors big Aero, he pointed out he's sided against big Aero in the past) he broke the law but it should be ignored because there was "no harm" so "no foul"? The harm is to the American judical system and the integrity of the bench.
By the way you speak Lee, you're convinced he's guilty already. Until proven innocent.
The ABA was the same bunch ... (Below threshold)
Eon the terrible:

The ABA was the same bunch of lowlifes who gave a big award to ANITA HILL for her lying against CLARENCE THOMAS

Is it just me or is the ver... (Below threshold)

Is it just me or is the very first thing that comes up with every conservative jurist that the liberals want to get rid of is that '(s)he has a very troubling record on civil rights'?

I'm not choosing sides, I know exactly squat about this guy, but am I not correct about this? (regardless of how many (insert minority here) community leaders and coworkers and acquaintances of that minority say (s)he's a great choice and very fair?)






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