Bar association gives Sotomayor top marks

July 7, 2009 at 6:42 PM

WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- The American Bar Association has given Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, its highest rating for "professional qualification."

Sotomayor, 55, who was nominated May 26 by Obama to replace retiring Justice David Souter, was unanimously declared "well qualified" to sit on the nation's highest court by a committee of the bar association, the largest organization of lawyers in the country, CNN reported Tuesday.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the ABA rating "should eliminate the doubts of naysayers who have questioned Judge Sotomayor's disposition on the bench."

The ABA said its review process focuses on a nominee's "professional qualifications and does not consider a nominee's philosophy or ideology." The group said it focuses on integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament.

However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., questioned Sotomayor's judicial temperament Tuesday on the floor of the Senate.

"As we consider her nomination to the Supreme Court, my colleagues should ask themselves this important question: Is she allowing her personal or political agenda to cloud her judgment and favor one group of individuals over another, irrespective of what the law says?" he said.

Sotomayor's confirmation hearings are to begin Monday.

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