It’s official: the American Bar Association is off the reservation. After several years of relatively good behavior, it has now drawn its knives and enlisted in the Democrats’ 2006 campaign. Today, the ABA’s judicial qualifications panel opined unanimously that Michael Wallace, nominated to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, is “unqualified” for the post.
This is ridiculous. Wallace’s bio is here. He graduated from Harvard and (at the top of his class) the University of Virginia Law School. He clerked for the Mississippi Supreme Court, and for Justice Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court. President Reagan appointed Wallace to head the Legal Services Corporation. For some years, Wallace has had what appears to be a top-notch litigation practice, with an appellate focus, in Jackson, Mississippi.
Based on Wallace’s resume, there are two reasons why the Democrats at the ABA consider him “unqualified.” The first is that he is a Republican. He is General Counsel of the Mississippi Republican Party, and–no doubt a key fact–he served as Special Impeachment Counsel to then-Majority Leader Trent Lott for the impeachment trial of President Clinton. The second reason is that Wallace is from Mississippi. I doubt whether the ABA would dare to pull the same stunt with a Northerner.
With this nakedly political move, the American Bar Association has once again forfeited any claim to credibility.