The Corner

Law & the Courts

The ABA Shoots Itself in the Foot

(Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

Conservatives have been all over the American Bar Association for its attack on Ninth Circuit nominee Lawrence VanDyke. (Here‘s a brief review of the situation.) In part that’s because of genuine outrage at the shoddiness of the attack. We’re supposed to believe that a former editor of Harvard Law Review who has been the solicitor general for two states is “not qualified” for the federal bench; and we’re supposed to believe it because of a not-especially-diligent review of his record by a political opponent.

But I think there’s something else at work as well. Many conservatives have been complaining for decades that the ABA has an outsized role in the judicial-confirmation process and uses it to pull the courts to the left. This is as good an illustration of that point as we’ve ever had.

The attack on VanDyke moved former head of the Nevada State Bar, Alan Lefebvre, to cut up his ABA membership card. At the moment, I’d say that the ABA has done more damage to its own clout than to VanDyke’s chances of confirmation.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular


‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
Film & TV

The Manly Appeal of Ford v Ferrari

There used to be a lot of overlap between what we think of as a Hollywood studio picture (designed to earn money) and an awards movie (designed to fill the trophy case, usually with an accompanying loss of money). Ford v Ferrari is a glorious throwback to the era when big stars did quality movies about actual ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More
Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More

What Happened to California Republicans?

From 1967 to 2019, Republicans controlled the California governorship for 31 of 52 years. So why is there currently not a single statewide Republican officeholder? California also has a Democratic governor and Democratic supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Only seven of California’s 53 ... Read More