All those empty federal judicial seats keep piling up, leading to new and interesting ways to restate the same dismal state of affairs:
[T]he Senate confirmed fewer of [Obama’s] district and circuit nominees than every president back to Jimmy Carter, and the lowest percentage of nominees – 58% – than any president in American history at this point in a President’s first term. By comparison, Presidents George W. Bush, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Reagan and Carter had 77%, 90%, 96%, 98%, and 97% of their nominees confirmed after two years, respectively.
HOORAY — we beat Carter!
But it’s not all the Senate’s fault:
The White House has increased its focus on getting as many judges as possible through ahead of next year after criticism from Obama’s liberal backers that the administration did not make it a big enough priority.
“The amount of resources the administration put into judicial selection is nowhere near what (President George W.) Bush put in,” said Elliot Slotnick, a political science professor at Ohio State University.
Although Obama had enough Democrats to overcome procedural hurdles during the first two years of his presidency, the Senate approved just 60 appellate and district court nominees, the smallest number in 35 years.
This rings true.
Consider the 11th Circuit, which has two vacancies including one dating back to August 2010 but no nominees awaiting confirmation.
In the SD FL, we have three vacancies (all considered judicial emergencies), with Kathy Williams awaiting confirmation for a seat vacated in February 2009(!). Judge Scola was nominated in May for a seat vacated back in August 2010, and the third vacancy has been pending since January 2011 with no nomination in sight.
You can read Kathy and Judge Robert a/k/a “Bobby” Scola’s questionnaires here and here, respectively.