The Washington Post ran an article today discussing the status of the federal judiciary. Not surprising considering that this week, the courts have taken center stage in the presidential race, with John McCain and Barack Obama both discussing the sorts of judges that they would appoint.
According to the Post however, the person who wins in November will have much less of an impact on the courts than President Bush has had. The article states that the current vacancy level is at a historic low – down to only 13 seats at the circuit court level and 35 at the district court level. When President Bush took office in 2001, there were 30 circuit court vacancies and 55 open district court seats.
Alliance for Justice has long argued that President Bush’s most lasting legacy will be his success in packing the courts with ultra-conservatives. Despite only serving eight years in office, the judges that he has appointed could serve 40 years or more on the bench.
As today’s article makes clear, his impact on the federal judiciary has indeed been overwhelming , which is why we have pressed so hard for the Senate to put an end to their confirmation proceedings. With the election less than six months away, the most responsible thing the Senate could do is to wait and see which party takes office before approving any more of the president’s ideologue justices to these life-time appointments.