Sunday, October 18, 2009

Obama Criticized as Too Cautious, Slow on Judicial Posts

Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post: President Obama has not made significant progress in his plan to infuse federal courts with a new cadre of judges, and liberal activists are beginning to blame his administration for moving too tentatively on what they consider a key priority.

During his first nine months in office, Obama has won confirmation in the Democratic-controlled Senate for just three of his 23 nominations for federal judgeships, largely because Republicans have used anonymous holds and filibuster threats to slow the proceedings to a crawl.

But some Democrats attribute that GOP success partly to the administration's reluctance to fight, arguing that Obama's emphasis on easing partisan rancor over judgeships has backfired and only emboldened Senate Republicans.

Some Republicans contend that the White House has hurt itself by its slow pace in sending over nominations for Senate consideration. President George W. Bush sent 95 names to the Senate in the same period that Obama has forwarded 23.

"I commend the president's effort to change the tone in Washington," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. "I recognize that he is extending an olive branch to Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and in the Senate overall. But so far, his efforts at reconciliation have been met with partisan hostility." (more)

LSB: Blame is a two-way street it appears. Obstructionism vs. too few nominees. Sure, sending over too many would rile up the Repugs - 'He's moving too fast... jamming the courts with too many liberal judges..' - but surely the vetting process for qualified federal judges shouldn't be taking this long.

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