Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Clinton’s Appellate Appointees


In exploring the remarkably low attrition rate among President Clinton’s federal appellate appointees, I compared Clinton’s first-term appointees to President Reagan’s second-term appointees and discovered that the Reagan set had a voluntary attrition rate that was four times higher than the Clinton set.  Those comparison sets were suggested to me by an expert in the field (not Russell Wheeler, whose assistance I cited) for the reasons I spelled out.

I’ve just now researched how Clinton’s first-term appointees compare to Reagan’s first-term appointees, and a similar contrast arises.  Of Reagan’s 33 first-term appointees (compared to Clinton’s 30), 15—or 45.5%—had taken senior status or resigned by the end of Clinton’s first term (the third presidential term after the one in which they were appointed).  By contrast, only four of the Clinton set—13.3%—have done so (three during the Bush presidency and one during Clinton’s).  So the voluntary attrition rate for Reagan’s first-term appointees is nearly 3-1/2 times higher than the rate for Clinton’s first-term appointees over a comparable period of time.

Tags: Whelan


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