Diana Gordon

Diana R. Gordon is a professor of political science at the City University of New

Recent Articles

Lowering the Bar

T he American Bar Association (ABA) has had a long run, starting with the Eisenhower administration, as quasi-official consultant to presidents on federal judicial appointments. Now the Bush administration's has ended the ABA's special role, reflecting Republican criticism of the elite ABA as too liberal. In fact, critics from the left as well as the right have long viewed the ABA as something other than ideologically neutral in its evaluations of candidates as "well qualified," "qualified," or "unqualified" (read, "nothing but a hack"). Its extraconstitutional gatekeeper role in judicial selection has put a premium on safe centrism, and has also helped preserve a field of largely white, male, cookie-cutter candidates. While the press worries about loss of the ABA's role as arbiter, the more pressing question is who will call the shots on how judges appointed in the Bush era read the Constitution. Will it be a sharply divided Senate, backed up by the unofficial views of reasonably...