Editorial: When Judgeships are Vacant, Court Users Suffer

Judicial-VacanciesAmericans who use the federal courts to resolve their cases are the people who are hurt the most by dozens of vacancies on the federal bench, caused in large part by political maneuvering, says an editorial in the (Bryan, Texas) Eagle.

The editorial points to 10 unoccupied federal judgeships in Texas, vacant for an average of almost two years, and says the situation is outright “unacceptable.”

While President Obama hasn’t made nearly as many judicial appointments in Texas as his predecessor, President George W. Bush, other factors are in play too, the editorial notes: “For their part, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are doing their best to delay confirmation of judicial appointments as long as possible, perhaps hoping for a Republican presidential victory in 2016. We can’t wait that long.”

In recent days other media reports also highlighted efforts by politicians and advocates to exert influence on judicial selection. “Senate Republicans Slow Judicial Confirmation Process,” Legal Times reported.  A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial, reflecting on an effort by progressives to block a potential judicial nominee in Pennsylvania (see Gavel Grab), was headlined, “Bench pressed: Activists go political against a prospective judge.”

Meanwhile, a Washington Post blog discussed a new paper by two political scientists that examined Obama’s judicial appointments.  The headline for the blog post stated, “Obama’s judicial appointments: liberal, but not that liberal.”


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