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Re: Doug Kendall’s Illusion



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Doug Kendall has offered a response to my critique of his Slate essay alleging a supposedly “new form of obstructionism” of judicial nominees.  I’ll largely rest with my original critique and will simply reiterate two points and add a third: 

1.  The sensible benchmark for comparing delay of judicial nominees is overall time from nomination to final Senate action. 

2.  According to a Congressional Research Service report (dated May 6, 2009), the average number of days from first nomination to final Senate action for confirmed Bush 43 nominees was 350 days for federal appellate nominees and 179 days for district-court nominees.  (For unconfirmed nominees, the average number of days from first nomination to final Senate action was 663 days for federal appellate nominees and 393 days for district-court nominees.) 

3.  Let’s consider, by contrast, the duration of the Obama nominations that Kendall finds so troublesome.  And have in mind that the Judiciary Committee was consumed for much of the summer with the Sotomayor nomination, and that the August recess also took place.  First, the confirmed nominees:

Gerard Lynch (Second Circuit)—168 days
Roberto Lange—105 days
Jeffrey Viken—96 days
Irene Berger—111 days

Now the pending nominees (with the count as of today):

David Hamilton (Seventh Circuit)—226 days
Andre Davis (Fourth Circuit)—210 days
Beverly Martin (Eleventh Circuit)—132 days
Joseph Greenaway (Third Circuit)—132 days
Edward Chen—84 days
Jacqueline Nguyen—90 days
Dolly Gee—84 days
Richard Seeborg—84 days

In other words, we have another four months or so before Hamilton and Davis will have reached the average for confirmed Bush 43 appellate nominees, more than seven months before Martin and Greenaway will have, and a good three months before the district-court nominees will have reached the average for confirmed Bush 43 district nominees.


(If I’ve made any mistakes in my quick calculations, please let me know.)


Tags: Whelan


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