Predictably and hypocritically, opponents and supporters of Judge Clarence Thomas have seized on the American Bar Association's evaluation of his fitness to be a Supreme Court justice as vindication of their positions.
The ABA's 15-member Standing Committee on the Judiciary gave Judge Thomas a "qualified" rating, with two members voting for "unqualified." No committee member rated him "highly qualified," which is the committee's only other category.
This suggests serious qualms on the part of the lawyers. Of the last 21 nominees to the Supreme Court, including three who were ultimately rejected by the Senate, none got so lukewarm a recommendation. All were judged to be "highly qualified" (or "highly acceptable" as the terminology used to be) by a majority if not by all standing committee members. Only two got "unqualified" votes. They were William Rehnquist and Robert Bork. The negative judgments in their cases may have been in part political rather than professional.