Off and on in the last few months the left and President Obama have tried to score political points by somehow saying Republicans have treated his judicial nominees unfairly. The irony of this charge from Democrats should not be lost on any reasonable observer as the Democrats under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid virtually invented the partisan filibuster of circuit judge nominees. They did not use this tool because of disagreements on judicial philosophy, on at least one occasion the rational of some Democrat Senators was in part racist in preventing a Latino American, Miguel Estrada, from serving on the DC Circuit.
None of this stops the President from crying foul in statements like “Senate Must Return to the Prompt Consideration of Judicial Nominations” and talking about “the Republican pattern of obstruction” after only the second of his nominees had been defeated.
The Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley of Iowa laid the record straight last week in an April 24 speech.
With this confirmation, the Senate will have confirmed 185 judicial nominations to the District and Circuit Courts. Only two of President Obama’s nominees failed confirmation.
That’s a record of 185 to 2.
As I stated last week, a .989 batting average is a record any President would be thrilled with. Yet this President, without justification, complains about obstruction and delay.
Today’s confirmation is the 14th so far this year – including 5 circuit judges and 9 district judges.
Let me put that in perspective for my colleagues. At this point in the second term of the Bush presidency, only one judicial nomination had been confirmed. A comparative record of 14 – 1 is nothing to cry about.
As I said, this is the fifth nominee to be confirmed as a circuit judge this year, and the 35th overall. Over 76 percent of his circuit nominees have been confirmed. President Clinton ended up at 73 percent; President Bush at 71 percent. So President Obama is doing better than the previous two Presidents.
What makes this even more ironic is if there was a problem with judicial vacancies, it starts with President Obama himself. He has yet to even do his job and nominate for most of the vacancies. Again Senator Grassley this time from a speech from April 12.
There’s one more very important fact.
There’s a lot of talk about vacancy rates. Right now there are 86 vacancies in the federal courts. Of those, there are 62 vacancies without a nominee. That means nearly 75 percent of the vacancies don’t even have a nominee for the Senate to consider.
President Obama needs to stop playing politics and instead start doing his job.