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ABA: Judge Tinder 'well qualified' for 7th Circuit

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The American Bar Association has given its highest ranking to U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder in his nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The federal judge in Indianapolis received word from the White House in July that President George W. Bush nominated him for the job. If confirmed, Judge Tinder would be the first Hoosier jurist appointed to the federal appellate court in 20 years.

Judge Tinder faced an evaluation process from the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which happens before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing takes place. The 15-member group evaluates all nominees for the nation's federal courts.

The ABA has conducted such reviews for more than 50 years. Its ratings are designed to help brief lawmakers and the public by offering what the group says is an unbiased look at a nominee's "integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament."

However, in 2001 President Bush ended the ABA's preferential role in vetting prospective nominees and refused to give the group advance word on names under consideration. The Senate Judiciary Committee maintained the ABA's role in its own process, however, and a confirmation hearing generally won't take place until after the rating is complete.

In a letter dated Sept. 5, committee chair C. Timothy Hopkins with Hansen & Hoopes in Idaho wrote to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., about Judge Tinder's evaluation.

The ABA committee defines the highest "well qualified" rating as one where the nominee is at the top of the legal profession in his or her legal community, has outstanding legal ability, breadth of experience, and the highest reputation for integrity, as well as demonstrates the capacity for sound judicial temperament.

Short of that ranking, nominees can receive "qualified" or "not qualified" rankings. The 15-member committee unanimously decided Judge Tinder's qualification level, according to the letter.

A lifelong Indianapolis resident and a graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington, Judge Tinder was appointed District Court judge for the Southern District of Indiana in September 1987 at the age of 37. He'd previously served as a U.S. Attorney, chief trial deputy for the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, and a public defender in Marion County. He had also practiced privately for seven years.

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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