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Fun facts:

Number of Clinton's judicial nominees that the Republican Senate blocked: 64

Number of Bush's judicial nominees that the Democrats have blocked: 10. (of the ten that were denied, 7 are coming straight back and 2 will be "reviewed.")

Conclusion: Republicans are whining little hypocrites.

Need more evidence?

There are currently 43 judicial vacancies. This compares to the Republicans, who by September 1997 had forced 103 vacancies. (The most at least since Carter - I got bored going back farther.) The reason? The Republican controlled Judiciary Committee refused to hold hearings on most Clinton nominees. In 1997, the percent of judicial nominees confirmed was lower than for any Congress over the last three decades.

From 1979-1995 the average number of annual comfirmations was 53. The average number of days from judicial nomination to confirmation was 78 days. In two years, 1996-1997, the Republican Congress only confirmed 56 judges total for the two year period, and the average time was 192 days. Perhaps feeling they were being too hasty, in 1998, the average time was swelled to 258 days to make a final decision on Circuit Court nominees.

Now let's compare the Republicans 56 total nominees confirmed for the two-year period can to the less than one year period of July 2001 (beginning when Democrats took control of the Senate) to April 2002, when the Democratic Senate confirmed 45 Bush nominees. More judicial nominees were confirmed by the Democratic Senate in 2001-2002 than were confirmed under Republican control in all of 1996, 1997, 1999, or 2000.

During Clinton’s term, Republican Senators blocked 35% of President Clinton’s nominees to the federal appellate courts for policy reasons. Republicans threatened to stop all confirmations or eliminate judicial seats to prevent Clinton from selecting his own judges, insisting that they were entitled to choose half of the judges.

And you know how the Republicans complain that the Democrats refusal to let the ten most unqualified and conservative freaks that Bush can find onto the federal bench is unprecedented? They obviously have short term memories.

In 1997, Republican Senator Orinn Hatch, Committee Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, stated that the delay on considering Clinton's nominees was because he "plan[ned] to stand firm . . . to ensure that President Clinton does not pack the judiciary with liberal activists. " Flat out, there were no allegations that the nominees were unqualified for the federal bench, apart from their liberal policies.

Oh, how their tune changes...


Current judicial vacancies illustrated here.
Independent Judiciary, Federal Courts at Risk, available here.

Editorial, Stop Playing Politics and Fill Judgeships, Buffalo News, Aug. 15, 1997, available at 1997 WL 6455051.

Alliance for Justice, Judicial Selection Project Annual report 1996, available here.

Thomas Fleming, Weekly Report, The Sun Reporter, Jan. 15, 1998, available at 1998 WL 11508057.

Editorial, Stop Playing Politics and Fill Judgeships, Buffalo News, Aug. 15, 1997, available at 1997 WL 6455051.

Alliance for Justice, 1997 Report on the Judiciary, available here.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, News, Releases, and Statements: Judicial Vacancies, January 28, 1998, available here.

Constance Sommer, Circuit by Circuit: National Corporate news By Region, 6th Circuit Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Sept. 2000, available at 9/00 Corp. Legal Times 88, (col. 1).

Naftali Bendavid, Bush Boldly Pushes First Batch for Bench, Chicago Tribune, May 10, 2001, available at 2001 WL 4071546.

Alliance for Justice, Judicial Selection Project Annual report 1996, available here. Twenty were appointed in all of 1996, many cited to the 17 number, as 3 were holdovers from 1995 and confirmed on January 3, 1996. Thus, only 17 were from the Second Session of the 104th Congress.

Independent Judiciary, Federal Courts at Risk, available here.


  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger Matthew said…

    Thanks for posting this, Stephanie.

    The Republican hypocrisy and, yes, whining about how the Democrats are solely guilty of delaying judicial nominees has worn very thin on me. You're awesome for doing the research and citing sources.

  • At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Jason said…

    EXCELLENT work. Have you posted this to Kos & Democratic Underground? If not you shoudl definitely at least write a diary about this on Kos.

  • At 9:47 AM, Blogger Jason said…

    All I have to say is, hooray for sources!

    When I ask for sources in converstation I have with people, they look at me like I am from another planet. Sources? What are these sources you speak of?

  • At 10:10 AM, Anonymous jason (b) said…

    Ahhhh jason collision! :)

  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Dennis! said…

    You rock!

  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Shaula Evans said…

    Brilliant job of letting the numbers tell the story. Great research, great job. Bravo!

  • At 4:26 PM, Blogger NYCbeauty said…

    How fucking true that is. But not surprising. I love that we supposedly have checks and balances but all three branches are republican controlled. I teach con law and try not to get outraged and let my students decide for themselves. But they know how I feel...with all of that researh, I hope you are publishing this somewhere else besides this blog!

  • At 11:57 PM, Blogger The Cunning Linguist said…

    GREAT post. I, like one of the Jason's, am a stickler for source citing. I'll be passing this one along.

  • At 11:13 AM, Blogger Ontario Emperor said…

    As a Republican, I have to concede your point.

    Regarding nycbeauty's comment about "Republican controlled" branches: yes, to a point. While the Republicans have a majority in Congress, it is a slim majority that limits the Republicans' ability to implement a unipartisan agenda. Because of the danger of defections, the Republicans are forced to take the Democrats' views into account at some level.

    The Supreme Court is harder to quantify - do you call John Paul Stevens a "Republican"? Earl Warren? If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then I'll concede that the Court is dominated by one wing of one party.

  • At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent. Another fine example of bipolar partisanship. Why is it that those who perform practical jokes are the ones who raise holy hell when the joke is played on them. To quote: "When I play a joke on someone else it really is 'funny,' but the same thing perpetrated upon me is a 'crime.'"

  • At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your numbers are incorrect. 10 is the number of nominees that have been filibustered. But more nominees have been blocked by other means.

    In fact, just looking at appeals court nominees, 16 nominations have been blocked. If 16 appeals court nominees have been blocked, obviously the total blocked is more than 10.

    If you check sources you may find that Bush has nominated 229 judges, of which 204 have been confirmed (I think it is now 230/205).

  • At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Does anyone have the list of judges Republicans blocked under Clinton?


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