WASHINGTON — Republican senators today suggested an American Bar Assn. panel is dragging its feet in reviewing Supreme Court nominee Douglas H. Ginsburg, and they said slow action by the panel shouldn't hold up Senate consideration of Ginsburg.
The accusation, less than a week after Ginsburg's nomination, represented the Republicans' latest salvo in a campaign to win confirmation of the 41-year-old federal appellate judge before the Senate adjourns for the year.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) has said he will not begin hearings until the review of Ginsburg's qualifications is completed by the ABA's standing committee on the federal judiciary.
The ABA panel's chairman has said it would be difficult to finish the review this month, before deciding which of three ratings Ginsburg should receive: well qualified, not opposed or not qualified.
No Hearing Schedule
Biden and the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, met today in an attempt to agree on a hearing schedule but no date was set, according to spokesmen for both senators.
Earlier, in a letter to retired federal Judge Harold R. Tyler Jr. of New York, chairman of the ABA panel, several Republican members of the Judiciary Committee said: "Many members of the Senate are concerned that the confirmation process be conducted as promptly as possible consistent with necessary thoroughness.
"In that regard we have been informed that the standing committee could, if required, complete its inquiry in as little as two weeks."
The ABA had no immediate comment on the GOP letter.
Tyler said in an interview Tuesday that the 15-member panel will try to finish its work this month but that he is not certain that can be done.
"If you look at the history of these things, most have taken 30 days or more. A lot of them run 40 days," he said.
Allen Finch, spokesman for Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), said several past ABA investigations have taken less than two weeks. He cited reviews of current and former Supreme Court justices Abe Fortas, Arthur Goldberg, Thurgood Marshall, Warren E. Burger, Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell Jr., William H. Rehnquist and John Paul Stevens.