- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2020

The American Bar Association rated Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett “well qualified” to fill a seat on the high court, judging by her “integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.”

The left-leaning ABA said a “substantial majority” of the evaluating committee gave her the “well qualified” rating, though a minority of members dissented, saying only that she was “qualified.” No member voted “not qualified.”

“The majority rating represents the standing committee’s official rating,” Randall D. Noel, chair of the evaluating panel, wrote in a letter to senators.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said it was a significant testimony to the judge’s credentials that the ABA, despite its leanings, “had no choice but conclude she was well-qualified.”

Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearings began Monday. She is in line for the seat left vacant after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Democrats have called the ABA rating the “gold standard” for evaluating judges, and the well-qualified rating could defuse some attacks against her qualifications.

Democrats were already telegraphing a different line of attack Monday, saying Judge Barrett would threaten Obamacare if she reaches the court and rules in favor of a pending challenge to the law.

The ABA panel didn’t reveal the reasons for the dissenting opinions on Judge Barrett’s qualifications.

When she was up for confirmation to her federal appeals court seat in 2017, Judge Barrett was also rated “well-qualified,” though with a minority of dissensions.

Most recent Supreme Court nominees were unanimously rated “well qualified,” though not without controversy.

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was given the unanimous rating, but after unsubstantiated allegations of sexual assault the ABA announced it would go back and take another stab at the evaluation. Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed before that evaluation was concluded, and the ABA dropped the effort.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s first pick to the Supreme Court, earned the unanimous well-qualified rating, as did Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s two picks, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., President George W. Bush’s two successful picks.

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