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Bench Memos

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Brookings Report on Judicial Confirmations



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The ever-reliable Russell Wheeler of the Brookings Institution has produced a report on President Obama’s judicial confirmations as of the summer recess in this election year. Among his findings:

1. On federal appellate nominations: “President Obama’s circuit confirmation success rate so far stacks up fairly well compared to those of his immediate predecessors.” His rate, “45 percent so far in 2012, is greater than either [President George W. Bush’s or President Clinton’s], and his 71 percent rate overall is only exceeded by the 77 percent rate in Clinton’s first term.”

2. It’s “a different story” for Obama’s federal district nominations: “As it stands now, Obama’s 125 confirmations, an 80 percent rate, are well below either of the final figures for the first terms of Clinton (87 percent) or Bush (97 percent), and slightly below those of their second terms.” (I’ve previously highlighted this disparity between Obama’s district-court nominations and his appellate nominations.)

3. “One little-noted reason” for the increase in district-court vacancies under Obama “is that many more district judges left active service during Obama’s administration than they did during Clinton’s or Bush’s during the same period.” (More on this in my next post.)



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