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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting for judges

In a recent editorial, the Chicago Tribune tackled the growing problem of judicial vacancies by asking the question, "If you wanted to leave your job and your boss asked if you could stick around until your replacement was chosen, how long would you be willing to wait? A week? A month?"

It's a problem faced by many federal judges nearing retirement. With soaring caseloads, many courts simply can't afford to go without a judge, and the Senate has been painfully slow to confirm nominees.

The editorial asks:
What's the holdup? As is often the case these days in Washington, it's partisan politics. Last year, Democrats claim, Senate Republicans delayed confirmation votes in hopes of gaining control of the Senate. This year, they are allegedly putting them off in hopes of winning the presidency next year.

There is some basis for these charges. President Barack Obama has had a tough time getting his judicial nominees confirmed. Only 62 percent of his choices for district judge have made it — compared to 74 percent of George W. Bush's and 86 percent of Bill Clinton's. These are the positions that should be the least problematic, since district judges are the ones who do the grunt work of running trials and processing cases, not the philosophical task of making law.

Click here to read the editorial.

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