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American Bar Association focus of attacks in efforts to approve unqualified judges

Politico: “Senate Republicans have declared war on the American Bar Association. Since 1953, the venerable legal organization has played a critical, behind-the-scenes role in assessing judicial nominees and their fitness to serve on the bench.But with the ABA emerging as a major stumbling block in President Donald Trump’s effort to transform the courts, the GOP is accusing the nonpartisan group of holding a liberal slant and is seeking to sideline it. The ABA has deemed at least four of Trump’s judicial nominees “not qualified” — a high number, although other administrations had the ABA evaluate candidates privately before they were nominated. Democrats warn of dire consequences of ignoring the group’s evaluations. But Republicans are intent on a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that could last for decades and so far, haven’t been persuaded by the ABA’s ratings. As the Senate prepares this week to confirm one appellate nominee that the ABA said was not qualified for the bench, Republicans are instead ratcheting up their attacks to try to discredit the century-old group. “The ABA’s record on judicial nominations has been highly questionable,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It has demonstrated over past decades repeatedly partisan interests and ideological interests.” Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who also sits on the Judiciary Committee and is a vocal GOP critic of Trump, added: “Not a big fan of the ABA.” “It’s blatantly political,” Flake said. “Often. Not always.” The bar association has already been diminished somewhat under Trump. In a shift from the Obama White House and a return to the policy of George W. Bush, the administration decided earlier this year not to allow the ABA to review potential candidates before they were nominated…[emphasis added]”

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