Obama now outpacing George W. Bush on judges
By: Edward-Isaac Dovere
April 4, 2014 02:47 PM EDT
Problems getting judges confirmed by the Senate have been a constant complaint for this White House — but this week, President Barack Obama’s aides are celebrating a confirmation count that outpaces President George W. Bush’s.
They’ve had that goal on their minds for over a year, ever since chief of staff Denis McDonough and counsel Kathy Ruemmler re-prioritized judicial nominations for Obama’s second term.
John Owens, confirmed Monday to the Ninth Circuit, along with Edward Smith and Gerald McHugh, confirmed to the district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania last week, put them over the top.
Over the course of his presidency so far, Obama’s nominated 301 judges and gotten 237 confirmed. By this point in his presidency, Bush had nominated 267 judges and had 234 of them confirmed.
As of April 4, Obama has gotten 44 circuit court judges and 191 district court judges confirmed. As of April 4, 2006, Bush had 43 circuit court and 189 district court judges confirmed.
Still, frustration remains high at the White House. Even after ending the filibuster for judicial nominees, Senate Democrats say other procedural obstructions by Republicans have kept them from getting judges on the bench. Grumbling about the blue slip process — which gives home state senators the power to block Judiciary Committee hearings for nominees — continues, with Ruemmler saying that she thinks it’s become an overbearing “constraint.”
“The president made clear that filling the vacancies on the federal bench, and making sure our third branch of government reflects the country it serves was a huge priority,” Ruemmler said Friday. “That is why, on top of the four judges confirmed for the DC Circuit, we have worked closely with the Senate to accelerate the confirmation process for all district and circuit courts around the country.”
There are currently 31 Obama judicial nominees — six for circuit court and 25 for district court — pending on the Senate floor. Of those, 13 would fill judicial emergencies and 20 were voted out of committee unanimously.