The American Bar Association on Friday awarded Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh its highest rating, giving the judge a unanimous “well-qualified” score.
“The rating of ‘Well Qualified’ is reserved for those found to merit the Committee’s strongest affirmative endorsement,” the ABA states in its description of the ranking process.
Kavanaugh, President Trump’s pick to replace former Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, will begin what is expected to be a contentious four-day confirmation process before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Senate Democrats have threatened to tank his nomination and have requested millions of pages of documents from his tenure as staff secretary to President George W. Bush.
Of particular concern to his Democratic critics are his apparent view that a sitting president cannot be indicted and his views on health care and abortion. Abortion-rights advocates are worried the D.C. Circuit Court judge would vote to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade if it were re-litigated.
Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have also left the door open to voting against Kavanaugh. Together, they could block him from the court, given the GOP’s razor-thin Senate majority.
To earn the highest rating, “a Supreme Court nominee must be a preeminent member of the legal profession, have outstanding legal ability and exceptional breadth of experience, and meet the very highest standards of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament,” according to the ABA, whose Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has been evaluating federal judges since 1953. The 15-member committee also evaluates nominees to the U.S. courts of appeals and district courts.
Last year, the ABA awarded Trump’s other Supreme Court nominee, then–Judge Neil Gorsuch, the “well-qualified” rating as well.