Bench Memos

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ABA Committee Chairman Stephen L. Tober—Part 1


Stephen L. Tober, who heads a four-lawyer law firm in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the chairman of the ABA committee.  Under the committee’s procedures, the chairman has particular influence.  Among other things, when a circuit member has completed the investigation of a nominee, the circuit member sends an informal written report to the chairman.  The chairman reviews the informal report.  Once he is satisfied with the investigation that has been done and the report that has been prepared, the circuit member prepares a formal report and sends it to the other committee members.  Thus, the other committee members see whatever information the chairman deems appropriate.


Tober’s public record as a lawyer is notable primarily for his very active involvement in bar organizations.  It is difficult to discern what his actual accomplishments in the practice of law are.


Tober has a record of two modest political contributions:  $250 to the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee in 1996 and $200 to Senator Biden (of Delaware) in 1994.


Anyone who witnessed Biden’s performance in the Roberts and Alito confirmation hearings might reasonably question the judgment of anyone involved in the judicial-selection process who would give money to Biden.  In Tober’s case, there is ample additional reason to question his fitness for his role, as is shown by my discussion—in this article in the current issue of the Weekly Standard—of his role in what the ABA did to Brett Kavanaugh. 


In two paragraphs near the end of my article, I outline Tober’s strikingly intemperate and loopy testimony in 1987 before a committee of the Legal Services Corporation that current Fifth Circuit nominee Michael B. Wallace headed.  Space limitations prevented me from providing a more detailed account.  Unencumbered by those limitations, I will do so soon in Part 2.


Tags: Whelan


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