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February 6, 2010

Another justified complaint about the pace of Obama judicial nominations

At Slate, Doug Kendall has this new commentary, headlined "Fill the Bench Now: Now is the time for Obama to move on judicial nominations," which take President Obama to task for the slow pace of his judicial nominations. Here are excerpts:

By February 2002, President George W. Bush had nominated 89 judges to the lower federal courts. This week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy prodded President Obama, who has nominated just 42 federal judges to date, to "get up names as quickly as possible."  President Obama promised to make this "a priority."  He'd better.

There are currently 102 vacancies on the federal bench. Of these, 31 constitute "judicial emergencies"— vacancies that have severely threatened a court's ability to handle its workload. Before the end of the year, there will be dozens of additional openings on the lower courts (20 have already been announced) and, in all likelihood, one and perhaps even two Supreme Court vacancies to fill....

Obama has a difficult road ahead partly because of his failure to act swiftly on nominations during his first year in office.  In 2009, Obama nominated 33 judges to the district and circuit courts, and the Senate confirmed 12.  These numbers are, in a word, pathetic.  New obstructionist tactics by Senate Republicans are partially to blame.  But Obama deserves some blame, too; the paucity of nominees made it hard to scream too loudly about the lack of confirmations....

All told, a shaky first-year performance.  Now is the time to turn things around.  Quickly.  The Clinton administration also started slowly on judicial nominations, facing tough politics on confirmation in 1994.  Clinton picked up the pace of nominations, confirmed 98 lower court judges and a Supreme Court justice, and cut by two-thirds the number of vacancies that amounted to judicial emergencies. This is the model.

The White House has made changes in its judicial nominations team, starting at the top with the installation of a new White House counsel, Bob Bauer. Bauer will oversee and coordinate judicial nominations in an administration that has more assembled expertise on judicial nomination and confirmation issues than any in history.  His job is to marshal this talent efficiently and to keep the nomination train running on time, which apparently proved impossible once his predecessor Gregory Craig started to lose his grip on the White House counsel job.

Some related new and old posts:

February 6, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Permalink


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The public interest is best served by gridlock. So, relax, President Obama. Wait until the Nov., 2010 elections to submit nominations. No big rush, as these left wingers would claim.

If the subsequent nominations are more conservative, do not worry. Lawyer rent seeking towers higher for the lawyer than any ideology, self-interest, or any other value. Lawyers are basically all the same, however, extreme their utterances might be. From extreme right to extreme left, rent seeking comes before all other values. Left wing extremist takes one property by over-regulation and taxation. Right wing extremist rides to the house with the KKK, that he founded and leads. They lynch the prosperous black owner, and takes his estates. In 100 years, not a single prosecution for this brazen oerationWhat is the difference in the end result? There is a taking, immunized at the point of a gun, by government or an agent for the government in the case of the KKK.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 6, 2010 2:34:55 PM

sc,I'm sorry your ex-wife's rent-seeking cult attorney took you for all you had; but if you would have spent a buck and got your own rent-seeker, you wouldn't be so angry. By the way, move to a country without real lawyers --say Libya, and see what that's like. Good luck.

Posted by: anon 12 | Feb 6, 2010 8:23:18 PM

Anon 12: I am one of the owners of the law. I am not going anywhere, as a member of the public. You go to Venezuela, where there are even more lawyers than here, and you feel right at home with those Commie running dogs.

I have paid for every jot and dot of my chattel, the law, with hard earned tax payments. You are a criminally converting, mere law technician. The public needs to repossess its chattel from you thievin' cult criminals, and has a right to use self-help. Why? Because you have the legal system rigged airtight. Once you have granted yourself immunity, torts no longer serve to substitute for violence. Immunity, especially self-dealt cult criminal immunities, fully justify violence, morally, intellectually, and almost as a duty to protect our community from predators and land pirates. Hunt and capture them with dogs, try them for a hour's fair trial, and hang them for their psychotic doctrines in insurrection against the Establishment Clause. Hang 15,000, imprison 150,000 of the cult criminals.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 6, 2010 9:20:07 PM

How charming--advocacy of mass murder. Prof. Berman, isn't it time you 86'd this psycho?

Posted by: Alpino | Feb 7, 2010 12:00:46 AM

Alpino: Personal remarks show intellectual frustration. Try a fact in rebuttal instead of name calling.

17,000 extra-judicial executions every year. Not one word about murder victims from you. Half are black, instead of 10%, as expected from their fraction in the population. The excess year in, year out, equals the total number of lynchings by the KKK, over a span of 100 years. Racist undervaluation of the black murder victim is a factor in the opposition to the death penalty.

That total number is 40% lower thanks to better trauma care, and to the sentencing guidelines. Now these have been made discretionary by criminal lover, rent seeking lawyers.

I am the token messenger from the world of reality to this lawyer Twilight Zone.

I am not the one that believes that minds can be read, including those of legally intoxicated criminals. Many have no recall of their crimes. I am not the one that believes that 12 strangers off the street can detect the truth using their gut feelings, after excluding those with knowledge. I am not the one who will prevent forced treatment of paranoid schizophrenics who murder 2000 people a year, many strangers who never interacted with them. I am not the one who believes that emptying the prisons will be good for the public. I am not the one that believes it is forbidden to question terrorists.

Those are really psychotic beliefs held by this nutty lawyer hierarchy. The hierarchy is a threat to our survival. The lawyer control laws will be written after a nuclear device is detonated in an American city.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 12:27:48 AM

Alpino: Please, try to be fair. I am not advocating mass murder. I am advocating protecting the constitution, and enforcing the law, by the arrest, trial, and lawful execution of the lawyer hierarchy. Murder is an unlawful homicide.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 12:32:07 AM

Prof. Berman: My first comment addressed the benefit of delay in sending judicial nominations for confirmation, the topic of your post. Subsequent remarks were off point. Please, remind the commentators to remain on point. The Supremacy has never been married, let alone divorced. She is saving herself for the right guy. She strongly opposes mass murder. The left not only attacks the person because the facts abandoned it 100 years ago. But they make false things up about the fictional character.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2010 12:37:01 AM

Here's hoping that when he gets around to it, at least a smattering of Obama's nominees will exhibit sensibilities better suited to the interests of his base.

If they're all to be former prosecutors George H. W. Bush might have picked, maybe the slow pace is a good thing.

Posted by: John K | Feb 7, 2010 11:18:02 AM

The Wikipedia page on current judicial appointments is pretty good-


Posted by: JC | Feb 7, 2010 11:27:47 AM

Can't we all just get along?

Posted by: mpb | Feb 7, 2010 10:58:49 PM

My first comment addressed the benefit of delay in sending judicial nominations for confirmation, the topic of your post. Subsequent remarks were off point. Please, remind the commentators to remain on point. The Supremacy has never been married, let alone divorced. She is saving herself for the right guy. She strongly opposes mass murder. supra footwear
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