Judicial Emergency

Senate Democrats are once again stalling President Bush’s judicial nominations, trying to run out the clock on his administration in the hopes that a Democrat will win the White House in November. The president has submitted nominees for 11 vacant appeals court seats, seven of which have been vacant so long that they are considered “judicial emergencies.” These seats should be at the top of the list for Senate confirmation, but, believe it or not, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has only held one – that’s right, ONE – hearing in the past six months.

Five of the judgeships for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina—are also vacant. That means the remaining ten judges on the Fourth Circuit are carrying the workload of 15 judges. The Fourth Circuit has also been hearing a number of critical anti-terrorism-related cases and is considered one of the more conservative circuit courts. Some legal analysts suspect that Senate liberals are intentionally stalling 4th Circuit nominees in the hopes of “moderating” the court by attrition.

Gary Bauer’s End of Day Report, 4/3/08