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This week, the Government Printing Office published the official record of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing held last year for District Judge Andre M. Davis, nominated and since confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit . Included in this just-published record is a remarkable document – the previously undisclosed March 2005 ethics opinion by the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the federal judiciary’s own ethics office – that a federal judge violates the Code of Conduct for United States Judges by serving on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), a Montana-based organization that takes money from corporations and hosts junkets for judges promoting what the organization calls “free-market environmentalism.”
On November 29, 2011, CAC submitted written testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “A Balanced Budget Amendment: The Perils of Constitutionalizing the Budget Debate.”
CAC’s latest Issue Brief, released on August 4, 2011, (and updated periodically there after) focuses on the unprecedented, slow pace of judicial confirmations in the Senate. At a time when caseloads in our federal courts are at a record high, the Senate’s confirmation process for judicial nominees has failed to keep pace with new judicial vacancies. This has stretched the federal judiciary, already overextended, close to its breaking point. While the number of judicial vacancies typically increases at the beginning of a new presidency, a rapid decline usually follows. The Obama Presidency has seen that trend broken. Never before has the number of vacancies risen so sharply and remained so high for so long during a President’s term. For 763 straight days there have been more than 80 vacancies on the federal bench, and there is no end in sight.