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American Bar Association

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 11, 2010 – The American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary will begin its evaluation of the professional qualifications of nominee Elena Kagan for the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

The ABA Standing Committee makes a unique contribution to the vetting process by providing the Senate with the important perspectives of lawyers and judges with whom Kagan has worked for consideration during the confirmation process. The ABA Standing Committee’s extensive, confidential peer review process includes the following elements:

Members of the Standing Committee will interview hundreds of lawyers, judges and members of the community with knowledge of  the nominee’s integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. These interviews will take place in every federal circuit in the country.  The Standing Committee does not consider a nominee’s political affiliation or ideology.

Legal scholars from respected law schools will examine the nominee’s legal writings for quality, clarity, knowledge of the law and analytical ability. The reading teams are composed of professors who are recognized experts in various substantive areas of the law.

Another panel of pre-eminent lawyers with Supreme Court and appellate experience also will examine the nominee’s legal writings from the perspective of practitioners who are familiar with appellate practice at the highest level

Finally, Kagan will be interviewed at length by members of the Standing Committee regarding her professional qualifications.

After this comprehensive evaluation is completed, the findings will be assembled into a report for review by each member of the Standing Committee who will then individually evaluate the nominee as either “well-qualified,” “qualified,” or “not-qualified.” The majority rating constitutes the official rating of the ABA Standing Committee.

The ABA Standing Committee’s independent peer review will provide the Senate with a thoughtful, thorough evaluation of Kagan’s professional credentials for serving on the nation’s highest court as the Senate fulfills its critical constitutional role in the confirmation process.

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