Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Judges, Please

The good news, as I discussed in the earlier item, is that the Senate is getting better at processing judicial nominations.

The bad news? They're running out of nominations to process. Not because all the vacancies are filled. No, it's because the promised increased pace of judicial nominations still hasn't materialized.

There remain around 60 spots without any nominee, including 11 at the appellate level. And including three spots, still, on the DC Circuit. It's true that some of this is the Senate's fault, with (mostly) Republican Senators blocking home-state selections (and Democrats in the Senate supporting their ability to do so). Sure, Barack Obama isn't technically bound by that, but it's not unreasonable for him to choose to work things out rather than send up doomed nominees. But he hasn't used public pressure to get things moving (and this might be a case where that might help). Nor has he, as far as we know, aggressively bargained to get things moving. And he doesn't have any excuse for those DC Circuit spots.

We've been hearing all year that Obama is really going to do better this time. Maybe he will. All I can say is that there's no evidence of it yet; there have only been a handful of new nominees so far this year, not enough to keep up with new vacancies. 

Let's have some judicial nominees, please, Mr. President.


3 comments:

  1. Okay, they've been 'processed' - do they have a job yet? How many outstanding nominees does the President still have? How many did he have last year?

    You're looking at a narrow band, without looking at the workload you're asking a sequestered White House to take one.

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  2. It is pretty hard at this point to find lawyers willing to take a year away from their careers to be scrutinized by the FBI and trashed in the conservative press, all for the honor of withdrawing their going-nowhere nominations a year later. No one is going to sign up to participate in a totally broken process.

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    Replies
    1. What about law professors and current public officials (including judges), who needn't "take a year away from their careers" when nominated? If this is the game now, the Obama Administration just needs to be smarter about where it's drawing nominees from.

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