Is There a Better Way to Appoint Federal Judges?

This year witnessed the complete meltdown of the federal judicial appointment process, with Republicans in the Senate continuing to obstruct President Obama’s judicial nominees at an unprecedented rate, and the Democratic response being to change the Senate rules so as to prevent regular filibusters. Debate is ongoing about the future of the blue slip practice, which affords home state senators the opportunity to prevent the consideration of nominees—nominees that in some cases they initially supported. What reforms can be adopted that would improve this process? Would implementing term limits instead of lifetime tenure on all federal judges, including the Supreme Court, help to diminish partisan rancor and obstruction?


James Lindgren, Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
Honorable Theodore A. McKee, Chief Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Alfreda Robinson, Associate Dean for Trial Advocacy, Professorial Lecturer in Law, and Co-Director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program, George Washington University Law School
Ryan W. Scott, Associate Professor, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University
Russell R. Wheeler, Visiting Fellow, Governance Studies Program, Brookings Institution; President, Governance Institute; Adjunct Professor, American University Washington College of Law