Blocking nominees to the federal bench has increased in recent years, according to the Congressional Research Service. Just 5.1 percent of uncontroversial circuit court nominees had to wait 200 or more days to be confirmed by the Senate under President Ronald Reagan. Under George H. W. Bush, it was 7.3 percent; Bill Clinton, 22.2 percent; George W. Bush, 35.7 percent; and Obama, 63.6 percent.
Like a lot of organizations, Justice at Stake has called for the Senate to take prompt action and hold up-or-down votes on pending judicial nominees, saying, “Our courts should not be held hostage to partisan politics.”
“This remains just as true for the lame-duck session as for any other time of the legislative year,” JAS Executive Director Bert Brandenburg said. “At its heart,” Brandenburg added, “the judicial vacancy crisis is a justice crisis, and this much is clear—justice cannot wait until January.” He also emphasized that Justice at Stake has long held the view that judicial nominees are entitled to up-or-down confirmation votes, “absent extraordinary circumstances, regardless of who occupies the White House or which party controls the Senate.”
JAS also joined a letter to Senate leaders and signed by 22 other organizations, pressing for cooperation and confirmation votes on pending judicial nominees. Read about the JAS letter in Gavel Grab, and read about the coalition letter here.