One way in which Barack Obama attempted to demonstrate that he would do a better job than his predecessor was to reinstate the American Bar Association to rate judicial appointments, which meant that those getting an “unqualified” rating would not advance. George W. Bush ended the decades-old practice, claiming that the ABA abused its prerogative to make political attacks on conservative jurists; the ABA continued to publish ratings on nominees, while the White House simply ignored them. Obama insinuated that Bush made that decision to push unqualified judges onto the federal bench, and promised that his appointments would pass muster.
How’s that working out? Er …
The American Bar Association has secretly declared a significant number of President Obama’s potential judicial nominees “not qualified,” slowing White House efforts to fill vacant judgeships — and nearly all of the prospects given poor ratings were women or members of a minority group, according to interviews.
The White House has chosen not to nominate any person the bar association deemed unqualified, so their identities and negative ratings have not been made public. But the association’s judicial vetting committee has opposed 14 of the roughly 185 potential nominees the administration asked it to evaluate, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The number of Obama prospects deemed “not qualified” already exceeds the total number opposed by the group during the eight-year administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; the rejection rate is more than three and a half times as high as it was under either of the previous two presidencies, documents and interviews show.
Hey, this presidenting isn’t as easy as it looks, huh? Looks like the most “unqualified” person in this loop is the one in the Oval Office.
Note: I will be going on vacation this weekend, so the OOTD feature will take a hiatus until December 5th. Be sure to keep sending me tips, though!
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!