National Bar Association Gives Elena Kagan "Qualified" Rating
WASHINGTON, DC - The nation's largest group of black lawyers---The National Bar Association (NBA) ---has found Solicitor General Elena Kagan "qualified" for an appointment to the United States Supreme Court. The NBA issued a formal statement in May, shortly after Kagan's nomination in which it had previously "reserved judgment" regarding Kagan's nomination.
According to the NBA's criteria for a "qualified" rating Supreme Court, a nominee must possess exemplary legal acumen, demonstrate extraordinary legal ability, possess the highest professional reputation and exhibit a diverse legal background. He/she must also meet the highest standards of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. The evaluation of "well-qualified" is reserved for those found to merit the strongest affirmative endorsement.
The NBA Executive Committee's evaluation and decision on Kagan is based on an investigation and review by the NBA's Judicial Selection Committee of Solicitor General Kagan's professional qualifications, integrity, judicial temperament and professional competence. The Committee did not take into account an examination or consideration of Solicitor General Kagan's political ideology in making its determination.
NBA President Mavis T. Thompson stated, "The NBA supports President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, finding her "qualified" to serve. To date, the NBA has withheld any endorsement due to insufficient information to ensure that Ms. Kagan's views are consistent with the core mission(s) of the organization. Our expectations are that Ms. Kagan's views on civil rights and equal justice will become apparent during the confirmation hearings."
An extremely important factor for determining an individual's qualifications and fitness to serve on the Supreme Court, the NBA considers a nominee's legal opinions, public speeches, scholarly publications and other information which may inform their commitment to equal justice under the law for all citizens regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, gender orientation, religion, disability, or other identifying factors and protected classes. Thompson stated, "Solicitor General Kagan has not yet established a demonstrated track record of vigorously applying the law to uphold civil rights and personal freedoms."
The NBA's rating comes almost two months after the NBA encouraged the nomination of an African American woman Supreme Court justice. NBA President Mavis T. Thompson stated, "It is important to note that an increasing number of African American women have entered the legal profession. Black women can now aspire to nearly every important position in the federal government except a seat on the United States Supreme Court. We are confident, however, that if given another opportunity, President Obama will rectify that circumstance."
The NBA will remain actively engaged in the Supreme Court confirmation process as it will continue to review reports and investigate findings during the deliberations and will convene its judicial selection and executive committees should any circumstances develop that would require a modification of its evaluation.
Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nation's oldest and largest national network of predominately African American attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org.