2015 Program Guide: Judicial Nominations in Crisis

 Judicial Nominations in Crisis


With the unexpected death of Justice Scalia in February, the judicial nominations battles have made headlines once again. President Obama's nomination of D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in March was met with complete obstruction by Republican leaders, leaving the court understaffed for the end of the 2015-2016 Term and the forseeable future.

Unfortunately, the nominations crisis at the Supreme Court mirrors what is happening in the lower federal courts, where most of the nation's pressing legal questions are resolved. As of August 1, there were 100 current and known future vacancies on the federal bench which consists of 870 total judgeships. Of those vacancies, 30 are considered judicial emergencies and 52 nominees are pending in the Senate.

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