Bench Memos

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ABA Testimony on Wallace Nomination—Part 1


I have received and reviewed the formal statement that the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee some two weeks ago in an effort to explain its remarkable “not qualified” rating of Fifth Circuit nominee Mike Wallace.  As I will explore in subsequent posts, the statement is not an impressive document, and it reinforces, rather than alleviates, concerns that Wallace has been victimized by his ideological enemies.


Here is a brief description of the ABA testimony:


The testimony has three parts.  In the first part, ABA committee chairman Stephen Tober explains the procedures supposedly followed by the ABA committee in investigating any nominee and the general process employed for the Wallace nomination.


In the second part, Fifth Circuit member Kim J. Askew explains her investigation and her reasons for recommending that the ABA committee find Wallace “not qualified.”  According to Askew, her investigation revealed that Wallace “has the highest professional competence” and “possesses the integrity to serve on the bench,” but lacks the necessary judicial temperament.  (I will address this last point extensively in upcoming posts.)


In the third part, former ABA committee chairman Thomas Z. Hayward Jr. explains his role.  Hayward was enlisted by Tober to do a second review when Askew completed her informal report recommending a “not qualified” rating.  Interestingly, Hayward chose not to re-interview any of the individuals interviewed by Askew but instead fully accepted her interview summaries.  Hayward states that he interviewed Wallace and spoke with “a number of individuals” who hadn’t been interviewed by Askew and who weren’t listed by Wallace on his comprehensive questionnaire response.  Hayward also concluded that Wallace lacks the necessary judicial temperament.


Tags: Whelan


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