Joan Biskupic reports White House spokesman Eric Schultz’s statement that “The president will be nominating judges for the D.C. Circuit in short order, but we hope the Senate moves quickly to confirm all of our pending judicial nominees.” Biskupic says that Schultz “declined to comment on names that might be in the mix.” This blog repeated rumors in October that NAACP lawyer Debo Adegbile might be on the list.
Biskupic observes that President Obama has failed so far to get a single nominee onto the D.C. Circuit:
Barack Obama is close to becoming the first president in at least half a century to finish a full term without making an appointment to a U.S. appeals court, considered second in importance only to the Supreme Court.
After political wrangling, Senate Democrats failed in December to break a Republican filibuster of the President’s last D.C. Circuit nominee, Caitlin Halligan. And as the President nears the end of his first term, time is running out:
“It is now getting almost too late for this presidential term, especially in the thick of an election year,” said University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt, who has studied nominations and was special counsel to Senate Judiciary Committee ChairmanPatrick Leahy during the Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan Supreme Court confirmations.
“That would leave the second most important court in the land without the kind of balance he might have achieved,” Gerhardt added.
. . .
[T]he window for Senate confirmation of judicial candidates in an election year begins to close around June, said Sheldon Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has studied judicial nominations since the early 1960s.
(Hat Tip: Chicago Tribune)
- Matt Taylor, Will Obama Get Any D.C. Circuit Nominees Through?, National Memo (Feb. 24, 2012)(“Republican presidents nominated eight of the active justices on the Court to Democrats’ three, leaving the GOP a large crop of potential Supreme Court nominees but also leverage in fighting against Democratic efforts to expand the scope and rigor of the regulatory state. In that respect, Obama’s failure could prove enduring.”).