Bench Memos

ABA Committee Members: A Summary

Perhaps testing the perseverance of readers, I have now published posts on all 15 members of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary.  (A convenient index of sorts is available here, below my bio.)  I intend to find time soon to write an essay that draws broader lessons from these posts, both on what is wrong with the ABA’s process of selecting members and on what the Senate, which still accords the ABA a privileged role in the judicial-selection process, ought to do about it.  But in the meantime I would like to offer a quick summary:


I would guess that ten or eleven of the fifteen members of the committee are Democrats (or further left), and at least seven of them have a clear record of strongly partisan ideological attachments, especially on issues of race and gender.  These attachments include affiliations with organizations that strongly oppose President Bush’s judicial nominees.


By contrast, of the four members who give some sign of being Republicans—Randall D. Noel, Harold S. Barron, Max A. Hansen, and James B. Lee—I am aware of nothing in their records that reflects ideological attachment to conservatism.  And certainly nothing that counters their Democratic colleagues’ attachments.  No pro-life affiliations, for instance.  No memberships in the Federalist Society.  Indeed, there are some liberal indicators among these apparent Republicans.  Barron, for example, once contributed to the Democratic National Committee, and Lee supported an ABA resolution urging a moratorium on the death penalty.  As for Noel, while he may well be a Republican, a reader who is a longtime friend of his says that he (the reader) doesn’t really have a read on Noel’s politics.  I doubt that any longtime friends of nearly all of the Democratic members would say the same.


In short, this is a grossly lopsided committee, both in party affiliation but even more so in partisan ideological attachments.


The Latest