The editorial "Judge Ginsburg and the ABA" {Oct. 30} raised a number of questions concerning the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary and the role it plays in evaluating candidates for the federal courts, including the Supreme Court. In substantial part, the editorial appeared to focus on The Post's views as to what the ABA committee did or did not do in its evaluation of Judge Robert Bork. A similar editorial appeared in The Post Nov. 12.

The standing committee's procedures and guidelines for the rating of candidates have been developed over the almost 40 years that the committee has been asked to evaluate the professional qualifications of every federal judicial nominee. Politics is not a factor in the committee's deliberations, and public officials of both political parties have consistently expressed appreciation for the valuable and objective public service provided by this committee.

The committee's investigation is designed to provide an objective evaluation of the professional qualifications of a nominee. The inquiry is limited to examining a candidate's professional competence, judicial temperament and integrity. In the case of the nomination of Judge Bork, the committee interviewed more than 400 persons, including Supreme Court justices, lower federal court judges, state judges, practicing lawyers throughout the country, law school deans and faculty members and Judge Bork himself. A panel of law professors and a separate group of practicing lawyers reviewed Judge Bork's published judicial opinions for the committee.

Contrary to the statements made in The Post's editorials, the committee provided a great deal of comment on and explanation of the reasons underlying the evaluation it made. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Bork nomination, Judge Harold R. Tyler, chairman of the committee, reported that the majority of the committee members had concluded that Judge Bork deserved the highest rating for Supreme Court nominees, that of "well qualified," reasoning that his varied experience in practically all facets of the legal profession, his service as a ranking public official and his high intellect placed him among the best available candidates for appointment to the Supreme Court.

He also testified that one member, not ready to express that high degree of qualification, voted "not opposed"; and that four members concluded that the candidate was "not qualified," not because of doubts as to his professional competence and general integrity, but because of concerns as to his judicial temperament -- his compassion, open- mindedness, sensitivity to the rights of women and minority groups and comparatively extreme views respecting constitutional principles or their application, particularly within the ambit of the 14th Amendment. Both Judge Tyler and former committee chair Robert Fiske spent more than two hours responding to every question put to them by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The editorials also suggested that a breakdown should be provided of the way in which each individual member of the ABA committee votes. I strongly disagree. While it is certainly public information who serves on the committee, disclosure of information on how each member votes could do a disservice to the process. It would have a chilling effect on the ability of the committee to conduct confidential interviews, which is essential if it is to gather candid appraisals from those interviews; and it could discourage service on the committee by precisely the sort of experienced lawyers needed to do the job. Moreover, disclosure of each member's votes and the reasons for them would effectively reduce the committee to 15 individual lawyers with views of no great assistance to the administration and the Senate.

I served on this committee from 1984 to 1986, when I withdrew upon my election as president-elect of the ABA. It is one of the hardest-working and most conscientious professional groups with which I have ever worked. Individual members frequently spend 300 to 400 hours a year on their committee assignments. The committee works very hard to ensure that its contribution to the judicial nomination process is a meaningful one and will continue to do so in the future.

ROBERT MacCRATE President, American Bar Association Chicago (See today's editorial.)