August 02, 2006

Wallace: The WSJ, the ABA, the Chairman and Ed Whelan

A lot has been written over the last week or so on the Wallace nomination, so I thought it might be a good idea to provide some links so folks can review the material for themselves.

First, The Wall Street Journal calls the ABA's report on Wallace a "hit job."

ABA President Michael Greco feebly reponds with a weak letter.

Ed Whelan over at Bench Memos has spent much of the last week slicing and dicing the ABA's testimony. Matthew Franck adds his two cents.

Specter is apparently not at all happy with the games the ABA is playing with the Wallace nomination.

Here's the Megyn Kendall reporting about it on Fox:

August 1, 2006 Tuesday

BYLINE: Jim Angle, Mike Tobin, Bret Baier, Jonathan Hunt, James Rosen, Steve Harrigan, Megyn Kendall, Alisyn Camerota

BODY: JIM ANGLE, GUEST HOST: Here in Washington, another battle has erupted in the long- running war over President Bush's judicial nominees. An attorney whom President Bush has nominated for a federal appeals court has received an unusually unfavorable rating from the American Bar Association, and that rating is getting an unfavorable review of its own. Correspondent Megyn Kendall has the story.(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MEGYN KENDALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ever heard of Mike Wallace? No, not that one, this one. Well, you're about to.The latest fight brewing over judicial nominees will be about this man, a former clerk to the late Chief Justice Rehnquist, now a successful attorney in Mississippi. He has been nominated to sit on the New Orleans- based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The latest roadblock to confirmation, an American Bar Association report voting Wallace unanimously not qualified, the ABA's lowest rating. The report, which relies heavily on anonymous sources, all but calls Wallace a racist, saying he "lacks tolerance," is "insensitive," "high-handed" and is "hostile" to minority rights.The rating drew immediate fire from conservatives who have long accused the ABA of having a liberal bias. Wallace's former boss, Senator Trent Lott, called the rating outrageous. The op-ed page of "The Wall Street Journal" called it political payback, noting that the ABA's president, Michael Greco, and Stephen Tober, who chairs the 15-member standing committee that voted on Wallace, harshly criticized Wallace years ago when Wallace chaired the Legal Services Corporation, a left-leaning group Wallace sought to reform. The ABA says neither Greco nor Tober actually voted on Wallace, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter says that doesn't mean they didn't influence the vote.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The president and the chairman on the standing committee have considerable influence in the committee process. And with those people in command and in charge, there has to be both the fact of impartiality and the appearance.

KENDALL: On Tuesday, Specter circulated a letter to the Judiciary Committee, which was meeting on other nominations, urging it to reject the report, an unprecedented move. Specter will also urge the committee to request a new ABA report from a panel of unbiased lawyers. Specter also wants the ABA to identify all of its sources, to name the people attacking Wallace, something the chairman says he'll now push for in every ABA report.

SPECTER: I do not think that they ought to be anonymous if we are to base a Senate judgment on them. It does not give the nominee a chance to defend himself.


KENDALL: The Judiciary Committee will convene on Thursday to discuss these and other concerns, and in the meantime, Wallace's confirmation hearings have been pushed back to September, which, given the upcoming midterm elections, could make his confirmation impossible this year.

Jim.ANGLE: Megyn, thank you.