The committee of the American Bar Association that rates judicial nominees has given mostly high marks to the two nominees whom President Barack Obama announced last week.
Judge Gerard Lynch, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, received a unanimous rating (pdf) of “well-qualified.” A “substantial majority” of the committee rated Judge Andre Davis, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, as “well-qualified” while a minority voted to rate him only “qualified.”
Members of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary don’t make their reasons public, so it’s not clear why at least one of them preferred the lower rating for Davis. He has been a state or federal judge for more than 20 years and currently sits on the U.S. District Court for Maryland. Lynch sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The president of the bar association appoints the committee members for set terms. One member comes from within each circuit jurisdiction, except for two members who come from the sprawling 9th Circuit, and one member serves at-large.
Obama’s first appellate court nominee, Judge David Hamilton for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, received a unanimous rating of “well-qualified.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee has not announced when it will hold confirmation hearings for Davis and Lynch. A spokeswoman for Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), citing previous practice and insufficient resources to scan hard copies of documents, said the committee would not release a nominee’s answers to its background questionnaire until the committee schedules a hearing.