American Bar Association reconsiders supporting Kavanaugh due to 'temperament'

In a letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, the American Bar Association said “new information of a material nature regarding temperament” prompted the group to reopen its evaluation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The letter addressed to Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Calif., referred to a Sept. 27 hearing in which Kavanaugh addressed sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him by Christine Blasey Ford.

Ford claims Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.

During his emotional testimony in front of the committee, Kavanaugh blasted his critics and got into heated exchanges with Democratic senators when they questioned him about his behavior in high school and college.

“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” he said during the hearing, before claiming the allegations were part of a smear campaign.

He also touted his “well qualified” rating from the ABA, the highest one it gives.

Kavanaugh’s behavior at the hearing prompted many to question his fitness and temperament to serve on the nation’s highest court.

On Thursday, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said he changed his views on Kavanaugh’s nomination following the hearing.

“I’ve changed my views for reasons that have no relationship to his intellectual ability,” Stevens said. “I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind.”

On Friday, Justice Elena Kagan, speaking at a Princeton University conference, said she feared that adding Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court might place it in danger of being perceived as a political body instead of a neutral institution for resolving disputes, Politico reported.

"It's an incredibly important thing for the court to guard is this reputation of being impartial, being neutral and not being simply extension of a terribly polarizing process," Kagan said.

At the same conference, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it was key for the court's justices to avoid the type of partisan rancor seen in other sectors of public life.

"We have to rise above partisanship and personal relationships, that we have to treat each other with respect and dignity and with a sense of amicability that the rest of the world doesn’t ... share," she said.

The ABA said it doesn’t expected a “re-vote” before the final Senate vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination slated for Saturday.

“Our original report must be read in conjunction with the foregoing. Our original rating stands.”

In a Thursday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on, Kavanaugh said he may have been too emotional at the hearing.

"I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said," he wrote.