The American Bar Association has given its highest rating to Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
In a report sent to the Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday, the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary deemed Garland “well qualified” to serve on the court. To merit the rating, the committee must find that the nominee has “outstanding legal ability and exceptional breadth of experience, and meet the very highest standards of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.”
As a nonpartisan organization, the ABA maintained that the rating was not based on political affiliation or ideology.
The ABA Standing Committee interviewed hundreds of legal professionals who have worked with Garland, and the overwhelming majority had nothing but praise for him.
One commenter remarked, “Garland is the best that there is. He is the finest judge I have ever met. There is no one who is his peer.”
Another suggested, “He may be the perfect human being.”
Of the eight justices who currently serve on the Supreme Court, only Justice Clarence Thomas received an ABA rating lower than “well qualified” upon being nominated.
In a statement released Tuesday, the White House lauded the ABA rating and chided the Senate for “abdicating” its responsibility to fill the court’s vacancy:
Today, the American Bar Association gave its highest possible rating to Chief Judge Merrick Garland, assessing him as unanimously well-qualified and affirming he has the experience and character to serve on the United States Supreme Court. The ABA, one of the largest and most respected nonpartisan legal organizations in the country, joins a multitude of distinguished voices from across the political spectrum agreeing that Chief Judge Garland has a record of judicial excellence. The President nominated Chief Judge Garland 97 days ago - and given that the average time from nomination to confirmation is 67 days, there is no question that the Senate has abdicated its responsibility under the U.S. Constitution. Filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court is a solemn responsibility that the President and the Senate share under the Constitution, and we call on the Senate to do its job and consider Chief Judge Garland's nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to block Garland's confirmation, describing it as an "11th hour" move by President Barack Obama.