Liberals often derided the Bush administration for what they claimed was the poor quality of its judicial nominees who were widely declared by the media to be chosen largely for their politics rather than any other consideration. But it turns out that far more of Barack Obama’s choices for the federal bench have been rejected as “unqualified” by the liberal vetting group that was considered a thorn in the side of George W. Bush.
The New York Times reports today that the American Bar Association, which has been roundly criticized for conservatives for decades for its liberal bias, has trashed more of Obama’s nominees in just three years than in did in the entire eight years of the Bush administration. The number of Obama’s choices rejected also exceeds the total that were deemed unworthy during the Clinton presidency. Considering that this stern verdict comes from an organization clearly sympathetic to Obama’s politics and judicial philosophy, these figures speak volumes about the poor quality of those tapped for the bench by the Democrats in the last three years and the abysmal standards by which they were held by the president.
Though the article provided no specifics about the particular candidates since those labeled “unqualified” were not presented to the Senate for confirmation, the one detail about those who landed in the proverbial trashcan does give us a clue as to what’s going on here. The key to understanding the nominations appears to be the administration’s commitment to “diversity,” which means they have emphasized the choice of women, Hispanics and African-Americans. While the majority of those nominated were not rejected by the ABA, of the 14 who were given the “unqualified” tag, nine were female, two were Hispanic and two were African-American.
To be fair, Republicans never thought much of the ABA as a vetting organization and often mooted proposals for eliminating it because of its liberal tilt when it came to evaluating prospective judges. But it says something about the politicized nature of the current administration’s approach to the judiciary that the ABA is rejecting its choices at a rate that far outpaces anything seen in the last two decades during presidencies of both political parties.
Like many other of the liberal slanders that were routinely hurled at Bush, the idea that he sought to politicize the judiciary has now been effectively debunked. The fact that 7.5 percent of all of Obama’s nominees are being rejected by a liberal group that refused to back only 2 percent of Bush’s choices shows that, if anything, it is Obama who values liberal ideology, gender and racial background more than excellence.