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January 22, 2009

When will President Obama start making judicial nominations to the lower courts?

According to this official accounting, there are currently 55 federal judicial vacancies (13 in the circuits, 42 in the district cours).  And, as detailed here, 18 of these vacancies constitute "judicial emergencies."  With lots else to do during his first week, I am not yet ready to complain about the pace at which President Obama is looking to fill these vacancies.  But I have been hoping that he would hit the ground running in this arena, and thus I am curious if anyone (insiders or outsiders) has ideas or educated speculations about when the new President will start nominating some new judges.

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January 22, 2009 at 05:09 PM | Permalink


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Republicans should bar every single judge Obama appoints. Every single one. After all, he tried to filibuster Alito, and turnabout is fair play.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 22, 2009 5:29:42 PM

Leah Ward Sears would be an excellent choice for the upcoming vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit. (Lanier Anderson has announced he will go senior Jan. 31, 2009.)

Posted by: Southeasterner | Jan 22, 2009 5:37:00 PM

Doubt they could get Olympia Snowe, for example, on board for that one... Once Stuart Smalley gets seated in the Senate, they will need every single (R) vote to block anything.

Posted by: Anon | Jan 22, 2009 5:40:46 PM

Too bad Bush did shove recess appointments into these slots. I know they would expire fairly soon, but it would have been a nice thorn to leave behind.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jan 22, 2009 5:42:16 PM

Bush didn't nominate any judges until May 2001, I think.

Posted by: Chris | Jan 22, 2009 6:25:42 PM


Congress -- to my understanding -- never recessed since x-giving 07 & Federalist please, please, please try to filibuster as it will effectively end the GOP forever north of the Mason Dixon line & on the Pacific Coast.

Posted by: anon | Jan 22, 2009 8:54:27 PM

Wouldn't Congress have necessarily been out of session at some point this December, since the old Congress ended and a new one started Jan. 5? But I might be misunderstanding how it works.

Posted by: Jay | Jan 23, 2009 12:15:16 AM

Is it possible that federalist misapprehends how many people in our country think like him? After all, B Hussein O won easily with what we can all fairly consider to be a mandate. Although, he may have an election construct which attributes the messiah's win to voter fraud in the rural counties of Mississippi; or whatever else Rush has spouted today. . .

Posted by: Mark | Jan 23, 2009 1:25:16 AM

D.Del desperately needs another judge - many cases have been languishing there since Jordan went to the 3rd Cir.

Posted by: barksdale | Jan 23, 2009 1:32:38 AM

The Virginia State Bar sent out an email on January 20th saying that Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner (obviously President Obama is practicing the traditional Senatorial courtesy) have requested them to evaluate candidates for vacancies on the 4th Circuit and the Eastern District of Virginia.

The vetting process is underway. Nominations should follow in a few months.

Posted by: Virginia Atty | Jan 23, 2009 10:12:50 AM

"Is it possible that federalist misapprehends how many people in our country think like him?"

More to the point, I don't think he *cares* how many people in our country think like him.

The certitude of righteousness is unshakable by any phenomenon this side of the grave.

Posted by: Branden R. | Jan 24, 2009 1:34:06 PM

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