The largest lawyers group in the United States has rated Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito "well-qualified" to serve on the nation's high court.
Fourteen members of an American Bar Association committee voted unanimously Wednesday to give the top rating to Judge Alito, whose confirmation hearings before a Senate committee begin on Monday. One member of the committee did not vote.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican said the rating demonstrates what he said an overwhelming majority of Americans believe, that Judge Alito is well qualified to serve on the Supreme Court.
Judge Alito is the Bush administration's nominee to replace retiring justice Sandra Day O'Connor. President Bush nominated Judge Alito after his first nominee, Harriet Miers, withdrew amid criticism that she lacked judicial experience. Ms. Miers withdrew before her ABA rating was announced.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts also received a "well-qualified" rating from the American Bar Association before his nomination hearing last year.
Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.