In his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary, Chief Justice Roberts called for increased judicial confirmations, writing that a "persistent problem" in confirming judges has caused some courts to become "burdened with extraordinary caseloads." Though he did not cite any statistics in his report, Chief Justice Roberts was referring to the fact that there are currently 110 vacancies for lifetime federal judgeships, 44 of which are considered "judicial emergencies" by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
These numbers are all the more striking because they have more than doubled since the beginning of President Obama's term in office, when there were only 55 vacancies and 20 judicial emergencies. Obama's experience stands in stark contrast to Presidents Bush and Clinton, both of whom were able to significantly reduce the number of judicial vacancies that they inherited by the end of their first two years in office.
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