Bench Memos

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Senator Hatch Sets the Record Straight


On NRO’s home page today is a fine piece by Senator Orrin Hatch (for whom I worked from 1992 to 1995) putting in useful context the current state of affairs on judicial confirmations.  Here’s an excerpt:


Democratic leaders are fond of saying that they will not treat President Bush’s nominees as the Republicans treated President Clinton’s nominees. Indeed, they are not. In the last ten months, for example, the Judiciary Committee has held a hearing on just three appeals-court nominees. During the same period under President Clinton, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on 11 nominees.

When I chaired the Judiciary Committee during the Clinton presidency, we held no fewer than ten hearings that included more than one appeals court nominee. Democrats have not held a single one when they controlled this body under President Bush.

When I chaired the Judiciary Committee, Democrats complained every time a nomination hearing did not include an appeals-court nominee. Under Democratic leadership, the Judiciary Committee has held nearly a dozen hearings on President Bush’s judicial picks, the latest just last month, that did not include an appeals-court nominee.

The picture is the same when we look past the Judiciary Committee to the Senate floor. Under Presidents Clinton, Bush 41, and Reagan, the opposition-controlled Senate confirmed an average of 75 district-court and 17 appeals-court nominees during the president’s final two years in office. So far in the 110th Congress, we have confirmed 31 district-court and just six appeals-court nominees for President Bush. Simply meeting the historical average will require confirming 44 district-court and nine appeals-court nominees in the next several months. If anyone believes that will happen, I have some ocean-front property in Utah’s desert I would like to sell him.


Read the whole piece.

Tags: Whelan


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