STATEMENT FROM ABA PRESIDENT PATRICIA LEE REFO

ABA committee to evaluate Barrett nomination

September 26, 2020

Following today’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary will immediately start its independent, nonpartisan peer evaluation of the nominee. The ABA Standing Committee will proceed as expeditiously as possible to complete this process in a thorough and fair manner.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

For the past 67 years, the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has conducted comprehensive peer reviews of the professional qualifications of federal judicial nominees, including all 34 U.S Supreme Court nominees. The Standing Committee, which operates wholly independently of the American Bar Association, evaluates nominees using information provided by knowledgeable judges, lawyers and other colleagues about the nominee’s professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament. The committee does not consider the nominee’s philosophy, political affiliation or ideology. Based on this information, the Standing Committee publicly releases a rating of each federal judicial nominee as either Well Qualified, Qualified or Not Qualified.

While it is important to fill any vacancy to the Supreme Court in a timely manner, the Senate process of advice and consent must allow adequate time for thorough consideration of the nomination of Barrett and must not be rushed due to partisan considerations. That is essential to the process of assessing lifetime appointments to the highest court in the United States. For the nation to continue to have trust in the integrity and independence of the federal judiciary, the process that places judges on the bench must be viewed as fair, unhurried and unbiased.

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