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Judges to GOP: Stop Blocking Nominations

Judges to GOP: Stop Blocking Nominations

Long before Republicans were the “party of no” in terms of obstructing any of President Obama’s agenda goals, the GOP had solidified themselves as a party bent on undermining the functioning of the federal courts by blocking, often without reason, judicial nominees.  For years lawyers and judges of all political stripes warned that if judicial vacancies remained unfilled this country would face a judicial crisis, the likes of which we have never seen.  Despite these warnings, Republicans still refused to move any presidential nominee along.

Now a group of seven Republican-appointed federal judges have decided to try and petition Republican Senators directly.  The judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sent Republican Senators a letter saying bluntly that “[c]ourts cannot do their work if authorized judicial positions remain vacant.”

The letter is respectfully written but carries with it a clear message: the federal court system is at the point of judicial emergency for no reason other than short-sighted political gain by the Republicans.

Federal court judges (with the exception of a few, including Justices Alito and Scalia) are known for a reserved manner in addressing colleagues and disagreements.  In fact, federal court judges (again with the exception of Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas) rarely wade into political waters at all, and when they do, their statements carry specific weight.  For example in 1997 when Chief Justice William Rehnquist spoke out against GOP obstructionism of President Clinton’s nominees the Senate was stunned into action and judicial confirmations increased from 36 in 1997 to 65 in 1998.

It would be wonderful if this batch of GOP Senators felt similarly moved by the weight of the federal bench declaring a judicial emergency as a result of juvenile games going on in Congress, but given the current state of the GOP leadership, this seems highly unlikely.  Instead this country will be forced to face the hard reality that there are simply not enough judges to hear the cases currently in the court system.  That means that at best justice in this country is delayed, and at worst, it is denied.

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76 comments

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10:05AM PST on Jan 9, 2011

Michael Cunningham, you are full of it. The Dems may be responsible for other things, but the Repubs are fully responsible for this. Holds for no reason. Holds without names. The business of this country cannot get done, because the Repubs have ONE agenda -- MAKE PRESIDENT OBAMA LOOK BAD.

5:51PM PST on Nov 28, 2010

"Can any writer on this site ever put any blame on the Dems for ANYTHING?"

Nope! Because then they would have to admit that they are wrong. The Dems can never be wrong because they have the good intentions of helping the downtrodden!

5:42PM PST on Nov 28, 2010

You may be correct in saying the law did not require issue of "bad loans" per se. But it did make it next to impossible to not do so. The law REQUIRED that loans be issued in the pooer neighborhoods at the same rate as that in non-poor neighborhoods.

How do you do that without taking on as loan customers that standard lending practice tells you is a high risk?

No regulation! That is a laugh! It was regulation of the industry that allowed the Government to force these bad lending practices on the banks. Another example of Social Justice run amock. An idea that feels good that results bad results.

This kind of logic is more a part of the Democrat psyche that their opponents.

10:51AM PST on Nov 24, 2010

Sandra Lee S,
How very right you are! Follow the Constitution.

8:08PM PST on Nov 23, 2010

Morgan G - That is just not true. Yes, the Dems have been slow to act on various occasions but not even remotely to the degree the Republicans have obstructed appointments. Check the facts and you will see that in this, as in virtually everything they have dealt with since this administration took office, they have been total obstructionists.

7:55PM PST on Nov 23, 2010

Sandra Lee S. - By far the worst cases of abuse of judicial power have been exercised by Republican appointees. Citizens United is just the most recent of many and one of the worst in the courts' history. The Republican Party has been obstructing judges' appointments for years and they clearly deserve this 'hand slap' as they did when Rehnquist did it.

8:43AM PST on Nov 23, 2010

Sandra Lee S.: Boy I agree with you. Not sure what the [R] judges in the 9th circuit have done to raise your ire, but I say let's start with the Supreme Court to avoid legislation like "Citizens United" from that bench in the future.

1:47AM PST on Nov 23, 2010

How about if they start nominating some judges who will adhere to the Constitution instead of legislating from the bench for a change; especially in the ninth circuit? Then maybe those Senators would be a bit more amenable?

7:10PM PST on Nov 22, 2010

Wow! We did get a little off subject, eh?

But since it caused a firestorm of reciprocal accusations, everybody take a deep breath and remember that this is the truth: Those who supported MLK and his mission were of all races, creeds, religions, financial circumstances and political persuasions. They were all great American Citizens who knew the right thing to do when they saw and proceeded to do so. I salute each and every one of them and reject turning that question into a "we and they" political rant. The right thing was done and that is that.

Besides, too many things are no longer even vaguely like they were in that time, making many of these arguments moot.

Peace!

5:40PM PST on Nov 22, 2010

The truth is that the Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee did not schedule a SINGE hearing for one of Bush's federal circuit court appointments from September 25, 2007 until February 21, 2008 (when the Senate was actually in recess ... which hearing the Chairman graciously offered to POSTPONE), according to a letter from the ranking Republican member to the Committee to the Chairman. So it's not just the Republicans who have stonewalled judicial appointments. Democrats are equally guilty.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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