March 30, 2009

Shock Report - NYT (!) Admits the ABA Favors Liberal Judges Over Conservatives!

Hatched by Dafydd

Despite the category above, this is actually not an example of media madness, but rather an unexpected gust of media sanity:

Two weeks ago, the American Bar Association’s eight-year exile ended. The Obama administration restored the group to the special status it had enjoyed since the Eisenhower years, and it will once again get early word about potential nominees to the federal bench.

The group says it is serious and diligent about evaluating candidates without regard to ideology. But there is reason to wonder whether Alberto R. Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time, might have had a point when he told the group eight years ago that its help would not be needed.

The A.B.A. is, after all, a private trade association, not an arm of the government. It takes public and generally liberal positions on all sorts of divisive issues. And a series of studies suggest that candidates nominated by Democratic presidents fare better in the group’s ratings than those nominated by Republicans.

For its part, the American Bar Association has utterly refuted the malicious lie that they're biased to the left:

Kim J. Askew, the chairwoman of the association’s 15-member Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which performs the evaluations, said her group is independent, hardworking and completely divorced from politics.

“We are an impartial group of lawyers that bring a peer review to the process,” Ms. Askew said. “We are all lawyers. We are officers of the court. We speak the language of the law. We do not consider politics.”

Well! Who could argue with that? It's not the A.B.A.'s fault that liberals tend to be capable and intelligent, whereas conservatives just happen to be incompetent and stupid.

Alas for the ABA, even the New York Times now admits that "a series of studies have found indications that liberal nominees do better in the process than conservative ones." No, really. The latest shocking, jaw-dropping assessment is from the University of Georgia and Emory University:

“Holding all other factors constant,” the study found, “those nominations submitted by a Democratic president were significantly more likely to receive higher A.B.A. ratings than nominations submitted by a Republican president.”

The differences matter, said Amy Steigerwalt, a political scientist at Georgia State and an author of the study, along with Richard L. Vining Jr, of the University of Georgia and Susan Navarro Smelcer of Emory.

“A nominee who has a higher A.B.A. rating is more likely to move through the process,” Professor Steigerwalt said. “When problems arise, a higher A.B.A. rating provides one piece of ammunition for the president and supporting senators about why a person should be confirmed to the federal bench.”

I won't say too much about this stunning conclusion, which surely breaks new ground that nobody has ever before trodden, because the dextrosphere is replete with actual lawyers, not sea-lawyers like me; I have a premonition that Power Line, Patterico's Pontifications, Instapundit, Beldar, the Volokh Conspiracy, et al will cover the topic rather thoroughly -- and probably have already done so in much greater depth than we; I haven't looked yet. (When I do check, I'll add links to the relevant posts of each of the blogs above... just because, unlike all those heartless conservatives out there, we care.)

Huh. As of this moment, none of the above blogs has so much as mentioned this Times article! Well, since I have little more to say, I think I'll post quickly -- and get a rare-to-vanishing Big Lizards scoop!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 30, 2009, at the time of 2:00 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste

Actually, Volokh has it, and Glenn linked to them.

The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2009 6:04 PM

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