The argument in this New York Times editorial today, about the White House deciding to use the ABA again to vet judge picks, truly puzzles us. At first, it seems to be giving the ABA props. But then it kind of morphs into a backhanded compliment.
Faulty logic (theirs, not ours), after the jump.
So first the op-ed is basically like: Yay, Obama! Smart move, because the ABA is so good at this. Then it's like: Except when the ABA was really bad at it, like when it endorsed some of those Bush appointees. Bad times. But doesn't that prove it doesn't have a liberal bias? And then it's like: Anyway, we're sure they were bad because they were cowering before conservatives, or maybe kowtowing. But anyway, not because they have bad judgment. So therefore: Maybe they'll be good now? (We just amended that to say maybe, upon reading the conclusion one more time. Hey, we admitted upfront it had us cross-eyed.)
In case you think we are bad at summing up, just read these
first two paragraphs:
"A study by a University of Georgia professor and two other political scientists reviewed those ratings from 1985 to 2008 and found that President Clinton’s nominees were 14 percent more likely than the Republican presidents’ choices to receive a 'well qualified' rating.
"Rather than being a result of bias, this disparity may reflect the degree to which recent Republican presidents put ideology ahead of excellence in selecting judges. Based on the last eight years, it is especially hard to argue that the A.B.A. has been a liberal force on judicial selection. The group regularly gave 'well qualified' and 'qualified' ratings to some of President George W. Bush’s most deeply flawed nominees."
You can read the piece in its entirety here. See if you get it.
— Pam Smith