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Turning Up the Heat for Justice

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

By Evan Manvel,

We all understand the game the Republicans are playing: blocking Obama's agenda, and then asking why he's not accomplishing much. It's politics, and not unique.

What is unique is the level of obstructionism by the Republicans on Obama's judicial nominees. In his State of the Union address, Obama called for it to end. From People for the American Way:

Roughly ten percent of federal court seats are or will soon be vacant, including 32 seats that have been designated “judicial emergencies” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts... President Obama’s circuit court nominees have waited an average of 136 days for a vote from the full Senate after approval from the Judiciary Committee, in contrast to an average of 30 days for President Bush’s nominees.

From The New York Times:

The Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington said the federal judiciary had had more than 750 days with at least 80 vacancies on the federal bench, which adds to the workload of an already overburdened judiciary. “Never before has the number of vacancies risen so sharply and remained so high for so long during a president’s term,” wrote the group.

What can we do? Add your voice to those Americans who want judicial nominees moved forward. Call Oregon's Senators, and urge them to push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the nominees up for a vote.

As Chief Justice Roberts noted, "Vacancies cannot remain at such high levels indefinitely without eroding the quality of justice that traditionally has been associated with the federal judiciary."