The Success Rate

by Jonathan H. Adler

Byron York’s article quotes a Republican staffer noting that President Bush has seen 87 percent of his judicial nominees confirmed — “the highest confirmation rate of any president since Reagan” — but this number may be a bit misleading. First, it is worth distinguishing between the confirmation rate of district court nominees, who are rarely contested, with appellate nominees.  Senate Democrats and allied interest groups have focused nearly all of their fire on the latter.  Second, it should be noted that the administration has become quite slow to nominate judges to fill more recent openings. The current list of federal judicial vacancies is here, and a list of pending vacancies is here. Failing to nominate judges to fill these spots — and not being ready to announce nominations as soon as pending vacancies occur — keeps the confirmation rate up and makes it more difficult to argue that the Senate is not confirming judges at a fast enough rate.

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