It is honorable no doubt to defend federal judges against the charge that they are merely "partisan hacks." But there is no doubt that lawyers expect party ideology to affect those judges' rulings and that they are wise to do so.
Fifty years ago, thousands of students from northern, mid-western and western colleges came to the South to participate in "Freedom Summer." Their goal was to increase voter registration among the African-American inhabitants of those states.
So what do we have here: an increased number of decisions to suppress, but fewer incidents of public displeasure with those decisions. So are times changing? Has public opinion, and thus political and judicial policy swung in the other direction?
The conspicuous absence of any openly LGBT nominees to the other federal appellate courts is a concern. It cannot be the case that no qualified LGBT candidates exist. Instead, the dearth appears to rest on the assumption that LGBT judges would not be appropriate because of some apparent bias.
If Senate Republicans follow through on threats to prevent confirmation of any of Obama's nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit under the fig leaf of an argument about whether this court needs more judges, we could quickly be back to the nuclear brink.
Republicans in the Senate are abusing the filibuster to keep jobs -- in both the executive and judicial branches -- unfilled while sitting idly by and letting economic growth take a hit in the name of ideology.
The federal judicial branch is in crisis. No, I'm not talking about marriage equality, the Voting Rights Act, or corporate financing of elections. Judges have a problem with how they hire their law clerks.
The startling revelation last month of the death threat against my colleague Judge Joseph Biancoreminded me of the death threat made against me a few years ago by Anthony Casso, who went by the charming nickname "Gaspipe."
Presidents come and go, but federal judges stay. In the second term, it is important that President Obama find ways to focus his energies on judicial nominations, and find ways to ensure that the Senate does the same.
The decisions about avoiding the fiscal cliff may be complex, but the way to avoid the judicial cliff is not. It's time for the Senate to come together and in one simple vote set aside the rancor of the past and fulfill its constitutional obligation to ensure justice for all Americans.
This "I'm going to take my toys and go home" attitude is injurious to our needs as a country -- we need to fill these vacancies so trial can be held, opinions written, and decisions made both on the bench and before it.