8/21/17

Bresnahan Appointed as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary

Related Practices

Attorneys & Professionals

Pamela Bresnahan, a partner in the Vorys Washington, D.C. office, has been appointed to serve a one-year term as chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.

For over 60 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 judicial nominees nominated by the White House. The committee submits its final rating to the White House, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the United States 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 United States Senate but, prior to the confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. From 2009 through 2016, the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary provided 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. In 2017, the committee resumed the practice of conducting its evaluations after the president submitted the names of nominees to the United States Senate but, prior to the confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 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 15 members, one from each circuit, except for the Ninth Circuit, which has two members. Appointment to the committee is based on a lawyer’s possession of the highest professional stature and integrity. Members have varied professional experiences and backgrounds.

Bresnahan is the head of the litigation practice group in the Washington, D.C. office. She serves as trial and appellate counsel in business and commercial litigation matters, with an emphasis on professional liability defense and coverage litigation.  She represents lawyers, financial institutions, broker/dealers, financial professionals, directors and officers, technology professionals, fiduciaries, insurers and other professionals. Bresnahan also serves as coverage and litigation counsel for insurers issuing errors and omissions policies. She represents businesses and individuals in securities, intellectual property and other corporate litigation. She advises law firms and lawyers on management issues and discipline matters. She has extensive experience supervising and managing complex commercial litigation involving e-discovery.

Bresnahan received her J.D. with honors from the University of Maryland School of Law and her B.A. magna cum laude with general honors from the University of Maryland College Park where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.