Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) yesterday accused the four American Bar Association committee members who voted "not qualified" on Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork of being "willing to play politics" on the nomination.

"I've been through this {ABA evaluation process} for 11 years, and I've seldom seen this without politics entering in," said Hatch, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a leading conservative supporter of Bork.

Responding to criticism by Hatch and the Justice Department, ABA President Robert MacCrate issued a statement saying, "Politics is not a factor in the committee's deliberations."

Since the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary began evaluating nominees in 1948, MacCrate said, "Public officials of both political parties have consistently expressed appreciation for the valuable and objective public service provided by the ABA committee."

Estelle Rogers of the Federation of Women Lawyers, which is lobbying against Bork's confirmation, noted Hatch had cited the ABA's unanimous "well qualified" vote on Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist during his bitter confirmation battle last year.

"Sen. Hatch can't have it both ways," Rogers said. "He has traditionally used the ABA's positive ratings as a rationale for embracing conservative nominees. His dismissal of a split rating as politically based just won't wash."

The 15-member ABA committee, which limits its scrutiny to the nominee's judicial temperament, integrity and professional competence, voted 10 to 5 to give Bork its highest ranking of "well-qualified," meaning that Bork "is among the best available for appointment to the Supreme Court."

However, in a move that surprised observers of the influential committee, which has given unanimous approval to the vast majority of Supreme Court nominees it has scrutinized, the panel was deeply divided. Four members of the committee voted that Bork is "not qualified." And a fifth member voted "not opposed," a middle ranking meaning that Bork is "minimally qualified" but "not among the best available" choices.

Justice Department spokesman Patrick S. Korten yesterday termed the dissenting votes "beyond comprehension" and said the "grounds had to be political" for opposing Bork, a former Yale Law School professor and U.S. solicitor general who is now a judge on the federal appeals court here.

"I cannot imagine any fair-minded person taking a look at Robert Bork and finding him not qualiifed," Korten said.

Sources confirmed yesterday that the four ABA committee members who voted Bork "not qualified" were Joan M. Hall of Chicago, John D. Lane of the District, Jerome J. Shestack of Philadelphia and Sam Williams of Los Angeles.

The committee is chaired by former federal judge Harold R. Tyler Jr, a New York lawyer.