ABA committee gives 8th Circuit nominee ‘not qualified’ rating

ABA committee gives 8th Circuit nominee ‘not qualified’ rating

[JURIST] The American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary [official website] gave Leonard Steven Grasz, a nominee to the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] a “not qualified” rating [statement, PDF] on Tuesday.

In a statement sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pamela Bresnahan [official websites], the chair of the Standing Committee, explained why Grasz [professional profile], an Omaha attorney, received the rating. Bresnahan said Grasz was scrutinized under the ABA’s two-part review process [ABA backgrounder]. The first prong of the review is typically undertaken by a law professor, and the second by a practicing attorney. At the end of the review, each individual is given a “well qualified,” “qualified” or “not qualified” rating.

The statement enumerated a number of concerns the ABA has with the nomination of Grasz. Among them are the ABA’s concerns with Grasz’s reputation for being ill-tempered among his colleagues, what those who know him called closed-mindedness, and his seeming disregard for the precedent of higher courts. Bresnahan stated, “Many questioned whether Mr. Grasz would be able to detach himself from his deeply held social agenda and political loyalty to be able to judge objectively, with compassion and without bias.”

In a local report [Omaha World-Herald report], Nebraska Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer [official websites] lamented the ABA’s rating, dismissing it as politically driven, and voiced their continued support for the nominee.

Although the nomination [materials] has been received by the Committee on the Judiciary, there is no set date for a vote on Grasz’s nomination. Grasz is the second judicial nominee [ABA Journal report] by President Donald Trump to receive a not qualified rating from the ABA.