• May 7, 2018

    by Caroline Fredrickson, President, ACS

    The Senate majority is rushing to fill the courts with unqualified and highly ideological nominees, and destroying long observed bipartisan norms along the way. We have the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing that he will continue to rush these nominees through as long as he possibly can regardless of anyone’s concerns or election outcome. This is the same man who declared his greatest moment was the day that he told President Obama he refused to give any consideration to a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, denying a hearing for 11 months arguing that the people should have a say. Rank hypocrisy doesn’t even cover it. 

  • October 1, 2010
    President Obama revisited the Senate's stonewalling of his judicial nominations in a letter to senate leaders noting that "judicial confirmation rates in this Congress have reached an all-time low."

    As noted yesterday in an ACSblog guest post by Glenn Sugameli, senators left town yesterday without confirming one nominee, and that now the situation is only likely to worsen. In his letter, Obama noted that the Senate recessed "without confirming a single one of the 23 Federal judicial nominations pending on the Executive Calendar."

    Obama wrote:

    At this time in the prior Administration (107 th Congress), the Senate had confirmed 61% of the President's judicial nominations. By contrast, the Senate has confirmed less than half of the judicial nominations it has received in my Administration. Nominees in the 107 th Congress waited less than a month on the floor of the senate before a vote on their confirmation. The men and women whom I have nominated who have been confirmed to the Court of Appeals waited five times longer and those confirmed to the District Courts waited three times longer for final votes.

    And the drawn-out confirmation process is producing rising vacancies on the federal bench placing the nation's "judiciary on a dangerous course, as the Department of Justice projects that fully half of the Federal judiciary will be vacant by 2020 if we continue on the current pace of judicial confirmations," the president wrote.

    He continued:

    The real harm of this political game-playing falls on the American people, who turn to the courts for justice. By denying these nominations a simple up-or-down vote, the Republican leadership is undermining the ability of our courts to deliver justice those in need.

    As he did during a recent speech before the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Obama highlighted his selection of Judge Albert Diaz to the U.S. Court of Apples for the Fourth Circuit. Although the Senate judiciary committee has approved the nomination of Diaz, he has "waited 245 days for an up-or-down vote - more than 8 months," the president wrote.

    The president's entire letter is available here. Justices Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Attorney General Eric Holder, and a group of former federal court judges have also joined in urging the Senate to stop holding up judicial nominations.

    To keep track of the vacancies on the federal bench and the status of the president's nominations, visit the ACS web-based project and get updates from Facebook.