During Wednesday’s judicial nomination hearing, Sarah Pitlyk, who has been nominated to the Eastern District of Missouri, was grilled by Judiciary Committee Democrats for her representation of pro-life clients and for her rating of “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association.
Anyone who doubts that both are two sides of the same coin should recall that such ABA bias is nothing new. In fact, it has happened in this administration. As I pointed out less than two years ago, then-Eighth Circuit nominee Steve Grasz endured the same “Not Qualified” rating for supposed “bias and lack of open-mindedness” based on a 1999 law review article about partial-birth abortion that took a position the Supreme Court would ultimately adopt in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007).
The ABA has a history of taking liberal positions on issues including abortion, the death penalty, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and the Second Amendment. The organization’s ideological bias has long tainted its ratings of judicial nominees. An entire book on the subject was written as early as 1965, Joel B. Grossman’s Lawyers and Judges: The ABA and the Politics of Judicial Selection. A 2006 Wall Street Journal editorial condemned the ABA’s “long history of . . . ideological sandbagging.” A 2012 Political Research Quarterly study found “strong evidence of systematic bias in favor of Democratic nominees.” Senator Ted Cruz pointed out at Wednesday’s hearing that eight of the 15 members of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which evaluates nominees, have together contributed at least $60,000 to Democratic candidates and related organizations, and donations to the campaigns of presidential nominees have gone exclusively to Democrats: Five members donated to Barack Obama’s campaign, three to that of Hillary Clinton, and none to the last three Republican nominees …
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