Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., criticized the American Bar Association on Thursday, saying it should "get a new life" in how it rates prospective federal judges, after one of his choices got a mixed review.Dingy Harry will be "getting a new life" come November, rest assured.
In remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Reid said the bar association's ratings board puts too much weight on whether judicial nominees have prior bench experience and overlooks "real world" qualifications.
Reid expanded his criticism to include the Supreme Court, whose makeup, he said, consists of "people who have never seen the outside world."
"I have asked President (Barack) Obama, 'Let's get somebody on the court that has not been a judge.' They need to do more than thinking of themselves as these people who walk around in these robes in these fancy chambers."
Reid was set off by the ABA's rating of Las Vegas attorney Gloria Navarro, who also appeared before the Senate committee as his choice and Obama's nominee to become a U.S. district judge in Nevada.
According to the association's 15-member Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, a "substantial majority," consisting of 10 to 13 members, rated Navarro "qualified," while a minority rated her "not qualified."
The bar shares its ratings in an advisory capacity with the White House and the Senate, which votes on the nominees.
The committee considers a nominee's "professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament." It rates each nominee as "well qualified," "qualified," or "not qualified."
Navarro, 42, has been in private practice, has been a public defender and currently is chief deputy district attorney in the civil division of the Clark County district attorney's office.
Several attorneys and academics who examined Navarro's resume speculated that her lack of experience as a judge may have been the reason some ABA reviewers rated her "not qualified" for the federal bench.
Reid told the Judiciary Committee it was "upsetting to me" that Navarro "is not rated as high as she should be rated."
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