Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Putting Today’s Cloture Votes in Context


1. For the 17 district-court nominations on which cloture votes will take place beginning this afternoon, the average time since nomination is roughly seven months—somewhere in the ballpark of 210 days. Five of these nominations were made only in November 2011, and three others in September 2011. On the other end, one nomination was made in March 2011 and two in May 2011, so only three have been pending for 300 days or more.

2. For contrast, here is a list of Bush 43 district-court nominees who (with the exception of the one nominee noted below who received one negative vote) were confirmed unanimously or by voice vote after delays of 300 days or more. 

Thomas Ludington  1,365 days 
James C. Dever III  1,072 days 
Peter Sheridan  946 days 
Robert J. Conrad, Jr.  731 days 
Sean F. Cox  636 days 
Thomas D. Schroeder  441 days 
Roslynn R. Mauskopf  428 days 
Vanessa L. Bryant  427 days 
Dora L. Irizarry  423 days 
Sandra Feuerstein  419 days 
Roger T. Benitez 413 days (98-1) 
Richard Holwell    412 days 
James R. Hall               388 days 
Robert J. Jonker         376 days 
Paul L. Maloney     376 days 
Curtis V. Gomez       362 days  
William L. Osteen, Jr.      346 days 
Martin K. Reidinger   346 days 
Liam O’Grady   341 days 
Sandra Townes  307 days 

Stanley R. Chesler (295 days), Ronald B. Leighton (295 days), and William J. Martini (295 days) barely fail to qualify for the list. As this previous post of mine (covering only 2007 and 2008) illustrates, the list would be much, much longer if I used a 210-day cut-off.

My total-days data for Bush 43 nominees confirmed from 2001 to 2006 is drawn from Appendix 5 to a Congressional Research Service Report titled “U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations by President George W. Bush During the 107th-109th Congresses,” dated Jan. 23, 2007. (I’ve done Internet searches on these nominees, mostly on the Library of Congress’s Thomas website, for the confirmation votes.) My data for Bush 43 nominees confirmed during 2007 and 2008 is drawn from Tables 1 and 2 of a Congressional Research Service report titled “Nominations to Article III Lower Courts by President Bush During the 110th Congress,” dated May 6, 2009. (If I’ve made any errors in transcribing the data, please let me know.)


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