Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called for greater Senate cooperation in confirming judicial nominees during the American Bar Association's annual meeting, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
"With ABA encouragement, may the U.S. Senate someday return to the collegial, bipartisan spirit that Justice Breyer and I had the good fortune to experience," Ginsburg said, in accepting the ABA's highest honor, the ABA Medal.
Ginsburg recalled her own confirmation processes to both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court. She said her confirmation initially looked uncertain because she had worked as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, but that once the ABA certified her with its highest rating, "well-qualified," she was "invulnerable to attack as unfit for appointment," the Chronicle reports.
In 1993, she was confirmed to the high court by a Senate vote of 96-3, in contrast to the vote to confirm Kagan 63-37. Both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan also received top ABA ratings, but they were confirmed largely along party lines, the Chronicle reports.
In the lower federal courts, there are now 100 vacancies out of 867 seats on the federal bench.
"We're at a point of unprecedented partisanship and bitter feuding between the two parties over judicial nominees at a level that has never happened before. And the impact is that you have nominees who are languishing for months and some of them for over a year," ACS Executive Director Caroline Fredrickson told NPR in a report on Senate obstruction of judicial nominations.
"If the Senate continues to move at this "glacial pace," a system that is "already overburdened" will come to a "grinding halt," Fredrickson wrote in a column for The Huffington Post earlier this month.
Most recently, the Senate blocked the votes of law professor Goodwin Liu and San Francisco magistrate Edward Chen, both of whom are highly rated by the ABA, the Chronicle reports.
Visit JudicialNominations.org to track nominations and get more information about the process.