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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New AFJ resource tracks judicial vacancies without nominations

How many judgeships are vacant in your state - without even a nominee?  Use AFJ's new resource to find out:

In many parts of the country, vacant federal judgeships have languished without nominees for more than two years, according to a new resource from Alliance for Justice.

Much attention has been paid to what happens after someone is nominated to fill a vacancy – in particular the obstruction of nominees by Senate Republicans.  But before a nomination ever reaches the Senate it goes through a complex, potentially lengthy process involving the White House and, with few exceptions, a state’s two United States Senators.  At every step, a nomination can be delayed.  In particular, this resource highlights the little-examined role that senators play in the pre-nomination process.

"This new report shines a spotlight on this often-neglected part of the process,” said AFJ President Nan Aron.  “It illustrates the need for a renewed sense of urgency that should begin the moment a judgeship becomes vacant.”

Aron cited examples of unconscionable delay:

“Because of a dispute between senators from California and Idaho, a seat on the 9th Circuit has been vacant for more than eight years,” Aron said.  “A seat on the 7th Circuit has been vacant for nearly four years. This kind of systemic failure has to end. The American people deserve better.”
When it comes to seats on federal district courts, there have been delays of two years or more in sending a nominee to the Senate in five states:
  • Eastern District of North Carolina: 2,654 days
  • Western District of Texas: 1,650 days
  • District of Kansas: 1,163 days
  • District of Arizona: 1,049 days
  • District of Massachusetts: 889 days

“These data, including detailed maps, track the status of every federal court vacancy for which there is not yet a nominee, giving Americans the information they need to demand action,” Aron said.

>>Read AFJ’s new resource
>>Judicial nomination timeline

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