Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



One phenomenon of recent domestic politics has been the resurgence of the American Bar Association as a vital, and often influential, group in the political process as well as in the legal profession. There is no better characterization of this than the ABA's assumption of a lead position in a profession-wide campaign to improve the quality of judges selected for the several court systems in the United States. In a relatively short span of time, the ABA has grown from a group with a minimum of influence to one with a quasi-formal role in the federal selection process. Its success has meant, among other things, that the role of the organized bar in judicial selection has acquired a measure of legitimacy never before attained. To be sure, the federal selection process is not yet completely "bar centered." But the impact of the ABA's influence on the process is clear and unmistakable. Tracing the growth of the ABA's influence and prerogatives in the selection of federal judges, and suggesting some factors contributing to this development, will be the major purpose of this article.