In the aftermath of the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary’s decision to downgrade Brett Kavanaugh from well-qualified to qualified, a decision apparently spear-headed by committee member and leftist attorney Marna Tucker, Ed Whelan is taking a closer look at the partisan attachments, if any, of the 15 committee members.
Today, he profiles Teresa Wynn Roseborough, who handles 11th Circuit nominees. It turns out that Roseborough is an aggressively partisan liberal Democrat. Among the evidence Ed found (and please read the whole thing) is this statement she made upon leaving private practice to work for the Clinton administration: “I was so excited about the opportunity to work for a Democratic administration partly because I was so dismayed with what I saw happening to the legal regime under Republican administrations.”
Roseborough should be commended for her commitment to her cause and for her decision to give up what presumably was a successful law practice to serve in the government. But there is no way that anyone this partisan (on either side of the spectrum) should have the lead role in evaluating the fitness of judges.
Anyone who has practiced law at a big or medium size law firm knows that they are well-populated with outstanding lawyers who are not intensely partisan. It is this type of lawyer (in the tradition of, say, Lewis Powell) to whom the ABA should be turning. But like so many of our other institutions, the ABA has become a leftist agenda-driven political interest group. As such, it should not be taken seriously.
UPDATE: Ed now has taken a look at South Dakota trial lawyer Charles Thompson, the ABA’s man for the 8th Circuit. Thompson is a partisan Democrat who contributed heavily to Tom Daschle. He joined the ABA committee during Daschle’s bitter 2004 re-election. According to Ed, “A reasonable observer would expect that Thompson would have been predisposed to assist Daschle’s unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees.”
FURTHER UPDATE: The ABA committee member for the Third Circuit, Roberta D. Liebenberg, is a self-described “activist,” “reproductive freedom” advocate, and contributor to the Democratic party.
The ABA’s member for the Federal Circuit is John Payton. What Payton apparently lacks in experience with the kinds of cases that court decides he makes up for (at least in the ABA’s view) in liberal and anti-Bush administration fervor.