Bench Memos

Putting Today’s Cloture Votes in Context

1. For the 17 district-court nominations on which cloture votes will take place beginning this afternoon, the average time since nomination is roughly seven months—somewhere in the ballpark of 210 days. Five of these nominations were made only in November 2011, and three others in September 2011. On the other end, one nomination was made in March 2011 and two in May 2011, so only three have been pending for 300 days or more.

2. For contrast, here is a list of Bush 43 district-court nominees who (with the exception of the one nominee noted below who received one negative vote) were confirmed unanimously or by voice vote after delays of 300 days or more. 

Thomas Ludington 

1,365 days 

James C. Dever III 

1,072 days 

Peter Sheridan 

946 days 

Robert J. Conrad, Jr. 

731 days 

Sean F. Cox 

636 days 

Thomas D. Schroeder 

441 days 

Roslynn R. Mauskopf 

428 days 

Vanessa L. Bryant 

427 days 

Dora L. Irizarry 

423 days 

Sandra Feuerstein 

419 days 

Roger T. Benitez

413 days (98-1) 

Richard Holwell   

412 days 

James R. Hall              

388 days 

Robert J. Jonker        

376 days 

Paul L. Maloney    

376 days 

Curtis V. Gomez      

362 days  

William L. Osteen, Jr.     

346 days 

Martin K. Reidinger  

346 days 

Liam O’Grady  

341 days 

Sandra Townes 

307 days 

Stanley R. Chesler (295 days), Ronald B. Leighton (295 days), and William J. Martini (295 days) barely fail to qualify for the list. As this previous post of mine (covering only 2007 and 2008) illustrates, the list would be much, much longer if I used a 210-day cut-off.

My total-days data for Bush 43 nominees confirmed from 2001 to 2006 is drawn from Appendix 5 to a Congressional Research Service Report titled “U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations by President George W. Bush During the 107th-109th Congresses,” dated Jan. 23, 2007. (I’ve done Internet searches on these nominees, mostly on the Library of Congress’s Thomas website, for the confirmation votes.) My data for Bush 43 nominees confirmed during 2007 and 2008 is drawn from Tables 1 and 2 of a Congressional Research Service report titled “Nominations to Article III Lower Courts by President Bush During the 110th Congress,” dated May 6, 2009. (If I’ve made any errors in transcribing the data, please let me know.)


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