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As President Obama nears the home stretch of his first term, the cumulative effects of Republican senators’ ceaseless obstruction of judicial nominees and election-year politics will likely mean that President Obama will finish his first term with more vacancies and judicial emergencies than when he took office and with far fewer confirmations than his two predecessors had at the end of their first terms. This will be the case even if the Senate confirms several dozen nominees over the remainder of the Congress.

The astonishing degree of long-term obstruction is exemplified by the fact that on May, 7, 2012, the Senate finally finished dealing with the nominees left pending on the Senate floor at the end of last year. It has yet to confirm a single nominee submitted by the president in 2012. The Republicans’ goal has been clear from the start—to keep as many seats as possible vacant for a future Republican president to fill with ultraconservative judges.

Their tactics have meant that with one in ten judgeships unfilled, millions of businesses and everyday Americans have had their cases delayed and their lives disrupted. Before Congress recesses for the election in October, it is essential that the Senate mitigate the harm that endless obstruction has done to the federal judiciary and give a final yes-or-no vote to every nominee submitted by the president in 2012.