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The ABA and Judicial Vacancies

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The American Bar Association President has sent a letter to Senate leaders asking for confirmation of nominees to the federal courts of appeals to continue.  A story and a link to the letter are available on the ABA's website.

I made a quick check of the ABA's news release archives and did not find similar concerns expressed in 2008.  If anyone knows of a similar letter in that year, please let us know in the comments.

6 Comments

All you need to know about the ABA and judicial nominations is the fact that Jeffrey Sutton got a Q rating and Judge Clay got a WQ rating. Everyone knows who is the better judge.

Decencyevolves:

It's worth considering how different the situation is now than it was in 2008. Say what you will about the relationship between the Senate and President then, the obstructionism of the Senate during this term has been truly unprecedented, leaving Republican appointed federal judges upset at the ridculosly slow pace of confirmation and the difficulties this has posed for federal judges and litigants. In a post at:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/06/22/the-worst-both-sides-argument-ever/

John Cole had a highly partisan response to criticism of the ABA's actions regarding this, which while shrill, did have some truth to it:

Republicans grind the confirmation process to a halt, a non-partisan legal group notices this and urges the Senate to stop the obstruction and put judges on the bench, and this very reasonable reaction to Republican perfidy “confirms the perception” for Republicans that the ABA is a liberal advocacy group.

Info on comparative confirmation rates as of Dec. 21, 2011 is available at Bench Memos.

Oh, and if you get up early tomorrow morning, you can "confirm the perception" that the sun rises in the East.

Decencyevolves:

I trust the Brookings Institution more than National Review Online or Thinkprogress, but they are much closer to your position than mine:

http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/01/13-nominations-wheeler

The key take away:

Overall, from President Jimmy Carter’s administration to that of President George W. Bush, confirmation rates for circuit nominees have declined steadily (counting someone who was renominated in the same or different Congresses as a single nominee). District nominees’ confirmation rates, though, have hovered around the 90 percent mark.

Decencyevolves: That said, the number of judicial emergencies is pretty alarming and does threaten to prejudice the rights of litigants to a speedy resolution of cases:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/crisis-in-our-courts-the-senate-and-president-are-failing-to-fill-the-federal-bench-139972/?print=1

To the extent the ABA is now urging the continued confirmation of judges, the difference may reflect legitimate concerns due to heightened numbers of emergency vacancies, rather than partisanship.

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