WASHINGTON—In response to revelations today that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley will not wait for ratings from the American Bar Association before moving forward on hearings for judicial nominees, People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker issued the following statement:
“There’s an important reason the Senate Judiciary Committee has relied so heavily on ratings from the American Bar Association: they ensure that nominees for lifetime seats on our nation’s court have basic competence, character and temperament necessary to play a critical role in our justice system. In most cases, the decisions made by judges are the final word on questions that will profoundly shape their lives of the Americans who end up in their courtrooms; the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to take seriously its role vetting the individuals who will be given that power. Moreover, there’s simply no reasonable argument to be made for changing this longstanding practice—it sends the clear signal that Senator Grassley is removing the important institutional barriers that exist to prevent unfit individuals from being confirmed to lifetime seats on the federal judiciary. That’s a profoundly disturbing abdication of responsibility.”
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.