Carol Platt Liebau: On ABA Ratings

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On ABA Ratings

Here, John Lott argues that Republicans made a mistake in relying on ABA ratings to counter Democratic objections to Alito.

I don't think so . . . since there's evidence that the ABA does, indeed, underrank Republican nominees, the fact that one of them earns an outstanding evaluation should weigh even more highly than a comparable rating for a liberal would. And if the ABA gets back up to its old tricks in underrating Republican nominees more frequently when there's a Republican president and a Democratic congress, then it will be worth pointing out the array of statistics that Lott has mustered.

In any case, the ABA may be a bit more cautious from here on out, given that the Bush administration was willing to eliminate it from the process completely.

Gone, presumably, are the days when the ABA can act as another liberal special interest group while masquerading as a nonpartisan guardian of the law.


Blogger HouseOfSin said...

"He who has one watch always knows the correct time; he with two watches is never sure." It's not an especially clever saying, but it makes a decent point. More independent means of information result in less precision but greater accuracy.

He with one watch can be utterly wrong with utter precision. With two watches, he will be much less precise, but have much better accuracy. Why bring this up?

The ABA is one organization. A very highly esteemed organization, yes. But one. And anyone who hitches an opinion of someone based on a single rating is taking an awful risk.

I appreciate their rating, but I also look at prior opinions, testimony from the nominee, this, that, the other thing before making an accurate assessment.

Carol, if you were so inclined, you could make a teaching moment of it - post organizations other than ABA that list ratings or comparable metrics, and the strengths/limitations they have.

Luckily, Alito makes the whole thing moot. He's qualified by any timepiece or any rating. Go get 'em Sam!

10:54 AM  

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