I’ve created a short report on the performance of Congress in handling judicial nominations, in response to Mike’s criticism. The report is entitled Assessing Judicial Vacancies. Now, let’s look at Mike’s criticism:
Wouldn’t that mean, that at least in this instance, that Rush is right and you are flat-out wrong?
Well, let’s look at what Rush said:
Leahy, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has succeeded in some packing of his own — filling the federal judiciary with left-of-center judges.
Leahy doesn’t make Judicial nominations, so it seems impossible for him to pack the court with judges of any sort. Then Rush says:
By blocking confirmation of scores of Bush’s nominees, he has ensured that an ever larger percentage of legal disputes come before judges who share his party’s judicial philosophy.
President Bush has nominated 63 people to the federal bench. None of them have been rejected, and 15 of them have been confirmed. That means that Bush has 48 nominations pending. For Leahy to be blocking “scores” of those nominees, he’d have to be actively preventing the confirmation of at least 40 of them. Given the standard length of time it takes to confirm nominees, that’s just ludicrous. Heck, twenty of the 48 were nominated since September, and Congress has been kind of busy since then. Now more:
Today, nearly half of all active federal judges were appointed by Bill Clinton. There are more than 100 federal judicial vacancies, 38 of which have been classified as “emergencies” by the U.S. Judicial Conference. Only about one in four of Bush’s nominees has been given a hearing and a vote. Four of 12 seats remain vacant on the D.C. Court of Appeals, which will have primary jurisdiction over legal challenges to the anti-terrorism bill recently passed by Congress.
This is all true, but as you can see from my report, rarely are judicial nominations from the opposite party considered in a fashion that could be termed rapid. This has also been a particularly busy year. Limbaugh’s complaints about the four empty seats on the DC Court of Appeals are laughable — Clinton made four nominations to that court in 1999, none of which were acted upon by Congress. Those same four seats remain open today.
So will I admit that I was flat out wrong? No, I won’t, because I wasn’t.