Top spokesmen for the American Bar Association, the leading lawyers group, cited Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s character and integrity in the organization’s decision to give him the top rating of well qualified.
The ABA’s high rating for Kavanaugh came days before the surfacing of an allegation by a California woman, Christine Blasey Ford, that he attempted to sexually assault her when the two were teenagers in suburban Maryland.
The allegation of an incident about 36 years ago now threatens a nomination to the high court that had appeared near certain.
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to reconvene Monday to hear from both Ford, 51, a research psychologist and professor, and Kavanaugh, 53, a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia since 2006.
“We concluded that his integrity, judicial temperament, and professional competence met the highest standards for appointment to the court,” Paul T. Moxley of Salt Lake City, chairman of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee, told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Our rating of unanimously well-qualified reflects the consensus of his peers who have knowledge of his professional qualifications,” Moxley said in his Sept. 7 testimony.
ABA Standing Committee member John R. Tarpley of Nashville, who represents lawyers practicing before the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, had similar comments.
Kavanaugh “enjoys an excellent reputation for integrity and is a person of outstanding character,” Tarpley said.
“It was clear from all or our interviews and all of the other evidence that he learned the importance of integrity from a very early age,” Tarpley told the Judiciary Committee, according to the ABA Journal.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, has possessed a letter from Ford since July.
During a White House press conference Tuesday, President Donald Trump said Democrats had been aware of the letter for weeks and to release it last minute is an “obstructionist” move.
“They knew what they were doing,” Trump said, adding:
Hopefully the woman will come forward, state her case. He will state his case, before representatives of the United States Senate, and then they will vote. Honestly, I feel terribly for him, for his wife, who is an incredible, lovely woman, and for his beautiful young daughters. I feel terribly for them.
In a vaguely worded press release, Feinstein referred to the letter last week, days ahead of the committee’s scheduled vote on Kavanaugh.
On Monday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told radio host Hugh Hewitt that Ford had not responded to committee requests for her appearance.