This week is the last week before our legislators take their vacations until September. Once again, President Obama’s judicial nominees will be left hanging without even receiving a vote. Republicans have taken an unprecedented approach to blocking President Obama’s judicial nominees. This week, Republicans vow to stand in the way of Judge Robert Bacharach, President Obama’s nominee to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. This is despite the fact that Judge Bacharach received bi-partisan support and even acclaim from conservative court watchers.
Instead of filling the vacancy and confirming Judge Bacharach, legislators will go home to their home districts until sometime in September. So nomination for a two year old vacancy on the court, Republicans choose instead to engage in obstructionism.
On average, President Obama’s judicial nominees have waited over 125 to be confirmed; this is four times longer than President Bush’s nominees. Compared to other presidents, only 156 of President Obama’s circuit and district court nominees have been confirmed as compared to 197 for President Bush and 193 under President Clinton.
To date, 35 of President Obama’s district court judicial nominees have been opposed on the floor compared with only 5 of President Bush in his entire 8 year term. And adding insult to injury, the Senate has yet to vote on a single circuit court judicial nominee this year. Judge Bacharach would be the first. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good for him.
The real impact is on the persons or litigants who appear before federal courts. It affects both civil and criminal courts. There is a cost associated without having enough judges to try cases. In 2010, for example, it cost $1.4 billion to detain and house inmates awaiting their trial, due to insufficient amount of judges. And in civil case, it could take over 2 years for a civil trial to start. None of this matters to Republicans. They much prefer to be obstructionists. There are currently 75 judicial vacancies. But judges need not apply. They won’t be confirmed anyway.