WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2017 - The nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is a significant action for our nation. As with any lifetime appointment to the federal courts, it is critical that as much information as possible about a nominee be made available to the public and to the U.S. Senate as it considers confirmation.
For more than 60 years, since the Eisenhower administration, the American Bar Association’s independent Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has evaluated the professional qualifications of nominees to the Supreme Court by conducting extensive peer reviews of each nominee’s integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. The standing committee focuses solely on a nominee’s professional qualifications. It does not take into consideration a nominee’s philosophy, political affiliation or ideology.
Every member of the standing committee participates in the evaluation. Typically hundreds of interviews are conducted around the country with persons who have personal knowledge of the nominee’s professional qualifications.
In addition, teams of distinguished law school professors examine the nominee’s legal writings (opinions, blogs, briefs, articles, etc.) for quality, clarity, knowledge of the law and analytical ability. A national team of leading practicing lawyers with Supreme Court experience also examines the nominee’s legal writings. The standing committee’s rating of the nominee’s professional qualifications is based on this comprehensive peer review process.
The impartiality and independence of the committee and its procedures are essential to the effectiveness of its work. The ABA’s Board of Governors, House of Delegates and officers are not involved in any way in the committee’s investigations, deliberations or reports. A cornerstone of the committee’s peer review process is confidentiality, and anonymous sources are not given consideration.
The ABA looks forward to again engaging in the process to ensure that the Senate can make an informed decision about the professional qualifications of this and future Supreme Court nominees.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.