Alliance for Justice has released a new report on judicial selection in the first ten months of the Obama administration. An assessment of the steps taken by the administration and the Senate toward promoting equal justice for all, the report shows that not enough progress has been made so far this year. Only five federal judges have been confirmed to the bench, with 22 nominees pending before the Senate, and 97 federal court vacancies remaining. Unless the Senate acts quickly, it will have confirmed fewer total nominees and a smaller percentage of nominees under Obama than under any of the previous five presidents during their first year in office.
President Obama has nominated highly qualified attorneys and judges to the federal bench - and yet Republicans have responded by either delaying the votes or outright attacking individual nominees. Every Republican in the Senate signed a letter on March 4, 2009, about six weeks after President Obama took office, effectively appropriating to themselves the nominating power of the executive branch by vowing to block nominees whom they did not approve. Since then, they have carried out their threat, placing anonymous holds on some nominees and threatening to block others from receiving an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
Resorting to the same old playbook of partisan politics, Republicans are obstructing the judicial nomination process as a last-ditch effort to maintain their hold over the judiciary, halt a return to a balance of power, and slow down the progress of Obama's agenda in the Senate. They have also decided to attack President Obama's nominees as an opportunity to keep their base engaged. Americans deserve better than simple party politics, and it is time for the White House and Senate leadership to move expeditiously to nominate and confirm judges.
America needs strong voices on our federal courts, upholding the Constitution and the law to ensure equal justice for all, not partisan games that delay putting highly qualified nominees on the bench." The full report is available on our web site.