For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 9, 2002
Fact Sheet: Judicial Vacancy Crisis
A Delay of 365 Days is Harming Americas Judicial System
TODAY'S PRESIDENTIAL ACTION
President Bush met with members of the Senate Judiciary
Committee to urge the Senate to hold hearings and votes on the
circuit court nominees who were announced on May 9, 2001. Of
these first 11 nominees, only 3 have even received hearings by
the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the 8 remaining nominees
have now waited a full year for hearings.
BACKGROUND ON TODAYS PRESIDENTIAL ACTION
The 8 nominees from May 9, 2001, who have not received hearings
are highly qualified individuals.
Each of the nominees is
known for character, experience, intellect, and reputation for
following the law.
Each shares the Presidents philosophy that
judges should follow the law, and not make the law.
Each of the nominees has strong bipartisan support.
Each has been rated qualified or well-qualified by the American Bar
Association, which Democrats have called the "Gold Standard".
At a White House ceremony on May 9, 2001, Senator Leahy
acknowledged the strength of the Presidents nominees saying,
"Had I not been encouraged, I would not have been here today".
365 days is too long to wait.
The remaining eight nominees
from May 9, 2001, have now waited 365 days without a hearing
from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
President Clinton's first
11 circuit court nominees were confirmed in an average of 112
days, with none waiting more than 202 days; President Bushs
first 11 averaged 88 days to confirmation and President Reagans
first 11 averaged 39 days to confirmation.
The Senates delay on these and many other nominees is hurting
the Americas judicial system and contributing to Americas
judicial vacancy crisis, most noticeably in the circuit
President Bush has nominated 100 highly qualified
individuals to serve in both the district and circuit courts.
Despite this action to address the vacancy crisis, there are
more vacancies today than when the President took office.
President Bush has nominated 30 individuals to serve on circuit
courts, but only 9 have been confirmed for a confirmation rate
of only 30%.
At this point, President Clinton had 61% of his
circuit court nominees confirmed, President Bush over 70%, and
President Reagan 92%.
The Senate Democrats are not keeping up with the pace of past
The Senate Democrats are setting a pace that is far
below the confirmation rate of circuit court nominees during
the first two years of recent past administrations.
must confirm at least 26 of the Presidents 30 circuit court
nominees to reach a confirmation rate that is comparable with
that of past administrations:
In his first two years,
President Clinton had 86% of his circuit court judges
confirmed. In his first two years, former President Bush had
95% of his circuit court judges confirmed.
In his first two
years, President Reagan had 95% of his circuit court nominees
Senate Democrats have not done enough.
Its time to restore
dignity and fairness to the judicial confirmation process and
to address the vacancy crisis, particularly in the circuit
Senate Democrats should begin by holding hearings and
votes on the 8 nominees who as of today have waited a full year