Alliance for Justice Research on President Obama's Judicial Nominations Finds Last Year's Republican Obstruction and This Year's Sluggish Pace of Confirmations Leave Legacy Still in the Balance
Press ContactKevin Fry firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C., June 1, 2011– A little over midway through President Barack Obama’s first term, an Alliance for Justice analysis of his nominations to the federal judiciary finds that the pattern of Republican obstruction that plagued his first two years has partially abated, but that the large number of vacancies carried over from the last Congress has left the federal courts in crisis and amplifies the need for an accelerated schedule of presidential nominations and congressional confirmations.
If the current steady but lethargic pace of nominations and final confirmation votes persists through the end of the year, roughly 44 additional nominees can expect to be confirmed. Accounting for anticipated new vacancies, the total number of vacancies in the federal judiciary will only have been reduced from 114 to approximately 97, with the 2012 election year looming. There are no formal procedural barriers to moving more quickly, however, and the current pace is dictated purely by political will within the administration and the Senate.
That conclusion is drawn from data in two new reports, The State of the Judiciary: President Obama and the 111th Congress, a summary and analysis of the judicial nominations process in the first two years of the administration, and Judicial Nominations in the 112th Congress: January-May 2011, an overview of the patterns emerging after five months of the current Senate session, as well as a calendar tracing activity in each step of the process.
Additionally, the reports find:
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The State of the Judiciary: President Obama and the 111th Congress can be downloaded here .
Judicial Nominations in the 112th Congress: January-April 2011 can be downloaded here .
A calendar revealing the pattern of presidential nominations, Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and final Senate floor votes is available here .
Additional information about judicial nominations, including regular statistical updates and profiles of nominees can be found here.
* * *Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. It is the leading expert on the legal framework for nonprofit advocacy efforts, providing definitive information, resources, and technical assistance that encourages organizations and their funding partners to fully exercise their right to be active participants in the democratic process.