Obama Has Nominated 60% Fewer Judges than Bush

The New York Times' Charlie Savage passes on some numbers:

President Obama has sent the Senate far fewer judicial nominations than former President George W. Bush did in his first 10 months in office, deflating the hopes of liberals that the White House would move quickly to reshape the federal judiciary after eight years of Republican appointments.

Mr. Bush, who made it an early goal to push conservatives into the judicial pipeline and left a strong stamp on the courts, had already nominated 28 appellate and 36 district candidates at a comparable point in his tenure. By contrast, Mr. Obama has offered 12 nominations to appeals courts and 14 to district courts.


By this point in 2001, the Senate had confirmed five of Mr. Bush's appellate judges -- although one was a Clinton pick whom Mr. Bush had renominated -- and 13 of his district judges. By contrast, Mr. Obama has received Senate approval of just two appellate and four district judges.

These numbers aren't as bad as they were in September, when Barack Obama had only nominated 17 judges to the 52 nominated by George W. Bush to that point in his Presidency, and when the only nominee to have made it through the Senate was now Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor -- but they're still aren't great. And with the shakeup in the office of White House Counsel, which is tasked with running the judicial nomination process, these numbers aren't likely to get better soon. Then again, incoming Counsel Bob Bauer, whom I have had the pleasure of working with, is tenacious and indefatigable, and, as Rick Hasen put it, has "an apparently unlimited supply of energy and intellectual curiosity," so I would not be at all surprised to see these numbers improve greatly in the coming months.

Tags: Barack Obama, Judiciary (all tags)



Appointments are a Bauer Strength

Marc Ambinder wrote on Thursday that the counsel shift will definitely be a good thing for the appointment process.

Bauer's lack of national security experience may weaken the White House's hand vis-a-vis other institutions, but his presence will strengthen White House influence on ethics policy, the appointments process, discussion of public financing legislation, and the administration's reaction to Supreme Court campaign finance cases.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-11-16 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Has Nominated 60% Fewer Judges than Bush

Bill Clinton made the same mistake, too... fortunately, there is still time to rectify the situation...

by LordMike 2009-11-16 09:13AM | 0 recs
How many openings

are there relative to how many there were at this point in Bush's term?

by JJE 2009-11-16 10:37AM | 0 recs
There are, I believe, 12 appellate court vacancies

which haven't had an appointment made to them yet.

by ND22 2009-11-16 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: There are, I believe, 12 appellate court

And how many did Bush have vacant by this time?

by Drummond 2009-11-16 03:06PM | 0 recs
I'm trying to look up the math

but it was definitely more than 12.

Obama had 24 openings to fill on the Appellate Court when he was inaguarated. I think Bush had a few more, maybe 30.

Also, Bush nominated 11 judges on the appellate courts anad 20 judges on the district court on the same day, September 4, 2001, and a 12th appellate nominee four days later and it took 14 months to get them all confirmed. By November 17, 2001, he had five confirmations to Obama's three.

by ND22 2009-11-16 04:20PM | 0 recs
FYI: Senate is debating David Hamilton now

A vote on him is imminent.

by ND22 2009-11-16 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: FYI: Senate is debating David Hamilton now

It's crazy that the GOP is actually filibustering Hamilton. Where is all that talk of an up-or-down vote...

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/2 0091116/NEWS02/911160361/Lugar+defends+H amilton+as+judicial+pick

by vecky 2009-11-16 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Has Nominated 60% Fewer Judges

The White House needs to move on this issue, but some of the blame needs to be aimed at Patrick Leahy, who has been uncharacteristically meek in moving these nominations forward.  Some of the Democrats seem to take the attitude that we have such a large majority that we don't need to actually push anything, because we're going to get our way in the end anyway.  I don't think that's a smart approach.

by Steve M 2009-11-16 11:23AM | 0 recs


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