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Federal Judicial Vacancies Dip Below 80 for the First Time in Nearly 3 Years
Senate obstruction of President Obama’s judicial nominees has been so consistent that even conservative Chief Justice John Roberts used one of his annual reports to call for an end to politically motivated obstruction. Earlier this year, however, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) forced the Senate Republicans to back somewhat off their campaign of obstruction by threatening seventeen successive votes to break the Republican caucus’ filibusters of judges-in-waiting. As a result of the deal Reid forced the minority to strike, judicial vacancies have now dipped below 80 for the first time in over 1,000 days. This number is still unacceptable, however, compared to past presidencies. At this point in the Clinton and Bush II presidencies, vacancies totaled 59 and 48 respectively.