Peter Bennett has been appointed by the American Bar Association to serve a three- year term on its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary representing the First Circuit federal courts. The First Judicial Circuit comprises Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island.
For over sixty years, the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has carried out an important role with respect to Presidential judicial nominees by evaluating the professional qualifications of: Article III nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States, United States circuit courts of appeals, United States district courts, and the Court of International Trade; and Article IV nominees to the territorial district courts for the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Committee does not propose, recommend or endorse candidates for nomination to the federal judiciary, as doing so would compromise its independent evaluative function.
In conducting its evaluation of each prospective nominee, the Committee focuses strictly on professional qualifications: integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament. The Committee does not consider a prospective nominee’s philosophy, political affiliation or ideology. The Committee’s objective is to provide impartial peer-review evaluations of the professional qualifications of prospective judicial nominees in order to assist the White House in assessing whether such individuals should be nominated to the federal judiciary. The Committee submits its final rating to the White House, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the U.S. Department of Justice to assist in the confirmation process. The Committee’s performance of its historic role in the evaluation process helps ensure that the most qualified persons serve on the federal judiciary.
Every President from 1953 through 2000 consulted with the Committee regarding prospective federal judicial nominations. From 2001 through 2008, the Committee conducted its evaluations after the President submitted the names of nominees to the U.S. Senate but prior to the confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 2009, the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary resumed its long-standing practice of providing the White House with the Committee’s evaluation of the professional qualifications of each prospective nominee to the lower federal courts in advance of the President’s making a nomination. Regardless of when its work is done, the Committee has always evaluated only the professional competence, integrity and judicial temperament of each nominee.
The Committee consists of fifteen members. Appointment to the Committee is based on a lawyer’s possession of the highest professional stature and integrity, and members have varied professional experiences and backgrounds.
In addition to serving on the Standing Committee, Mr. Bennett serves as a Treasurer and Trustee of The National Judicial College, as a board member of the Appellate Judges Education Institute, as Immediate Past Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence, as a past Chair of the 35,000 member ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and as past President of the Boston University School of Law Alumni Association. He appears in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers, the Bar Register and New England Super Lawyers amongst other recognition. He has received numerous awards including: Top 100 Most Powerful Employment Attorneys in the Nation.