Bar Assn. Approves Roberts for High Court
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. earned a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Assn. on Wednesday, clearing one hurdle in his path to joining the high court.
The rating by unanimous vote of a bar association committee was disclosed as the Senate Judiciary Committee announced plans for the start of confirmation hearings Sept. 6. Roberts will face about an hour of questioning from each of the 18 senators on the committee.
The committee will hold one hearing that will be closed to the public.
For about 50 years, the bar association has evaluated the credentials of nominees for the federal bench, though the nation’s largest lawyers’ group has no official standing in the process. Supreme Court nominees get the most scrutiny.
This is the fourth time the association has rated Roberts.
He was designated as well qualified in 2001 when he was nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He earned the same rating in 2003 when he was nominated again for the appeals courts and then confirmed. He was rated as qualified as an appeals court nominee in 1992, but the Senate never took up the nomination.
Roberts, 50, would succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
A 15-member bar association committee handled the work, including a review of opinions and legal briefs. Spokeswoman Nancy Slonim said the vote was unanimous.
The possible ratings are “well qualified,” “qualified” and “not qualified.”