Unable to defeat key pieces of the President’s agenda through the legislative branch, the Republican’s are attacking President Obama’s legacy through the judiciary by confirming the least amount of judges since 1969.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who chaired the Judiciary Committee when Democrats held the majority. “They’re trying to politicize the courts. And it’s irresponsible. I refused to do that with President Reagan. I refused to do that with President Bush.”
At least a dozen federal courts have been declared “judicial emergencies” because of the massive caseload build-ups thanks to vacancies.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) was asked if these delays were revenge for the Democrats getting 96 judicial nominations through when they had the majority in 2013. The Democrats gained an advantage when they scrapped the 60-vote filibuster rule for judicial nominations.
“We’re way too busy to think about things like retribution,” Cornyn replied.
Republicans point to the fact that 311 of Obama’s judicial nominations have been confirmed compared to 276 of George W. Bush’s at the same point in his presidency.
“We’re trying to move them at about the same speed as the Democrats did when they took over the Senate the last two years of the Bush administration,” said Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IW)
The White House however, feels that the seven to eight month wait their district court nominees have faced is hardly a gracious deal.
“Today, there are seven judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor — all noncontroversial. Six were nominated last year, and three would fill judicial emergencies,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz. “We urge the Senate to promptly consider and confirm these nominations.”
Currently there are a total of 63 judicial vacancies and 16 nominations before the Senate for consideration.
President Obama’s nominees have had the longest median wait-time of any President in recent history at 228 days from nomination to confirmation.[Politico]