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Judge John Roberts has secured the American Bar Association’s certification that he is “well qualified” to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. An ABA spokeswoman said on Aug. 17 that the vote by the 15-member Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary was unanimous. Roberts received the same rating, the highest bestowed by the ABA, when he was first nominated to the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia in 2001, than again in 2003 when he was nominated and then confirmed for the same court. President Bush nominated Roberts, 50, in July to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Roberts’ confirmation hearing is set to open on Sept. 6 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The ABA said its ratings of judicial nominees are based upon extensive peer reviews of the nominee’s integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. For nominees to the nation’s highest court, members of the ABA’s standing committee take the additional step of interviewing people in each of the judicial circuits who are familiar with a nominee’s professional qualifications. Additionally, law school professors and leading practitioners with experience before the high court examine the nominee’s legal opinions and other writings for quality, clarity, knowledge of the law and analytical ability. To merit a “qualified” rating, a Supreme Court nominee must be at the top of the legal profession, have outstanding legal ability and exceptional breadth of experience, and meet the highest standards possible. “Well qualified” candidates are deemed to merit the committee’s strongest affirmative endorsement.

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