Monday, October 01, 2012

Obama's Judges Confirmed At Much Slower Rate

Today is the first Monday in October, which is traditionally known as the beginning of the Supreme Court's term. While there are a number of blockbuster cases before the High Court (the 1965 Voting Rights Act, affirmative action in higher education, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, California's Proposition 8) I want to use this opportunity to talk about federal judges, not the decisions they make.

Doug Kendall at Slate has shown that even uncontroversial federal judicial nominees are now typically getting delayed by the United States Senate for 200 days or more, which is a dramatic increase from the practice as recently as four presidential administrations ago.
The gist is this: The average confirmation time for uncontroversial circuit court nominees rose from 64.5 days under Reagan to 227.3 days under Obama. There simply are no Obama appeals court nominees who make it through the confirmation process in 100 days or less—whereas nearly 30 percent of President George W. Bush’s nominees sped through in that amount of time. Similarly, the average waiting time for uncontroversial district court nominees increased from 69.9 days under Reagan to 204.8 days under President Obama. And the number of district court nominees who wait more than 200 days has doubled from George W.’s time to Obama’s.
This change can be graphically illustrated in the images at the top of the post. The facts which leap up at me from the graphics are that zero percentage (i.e. none!) of Obama's federal appellate court judges were approved in less than 100 days, while more than 25% of President George W. Bush's nominees were approved that quickly. Also, less than 2% of the President Obama's federal district court judges were approved in 100 days or less. This basically means that the days of rapid approval of federal judges has basically become a thing of the past.

Hat/tip to Think Progress

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