The Obama Judicial Legacy
While in many ways the President sets our national agenda, his judicial nominations hold a power that lives on long after his presidency. As President Bush's term in office drew to a close the Senate became more obstructionist and blocked his judicial nominees. Yesterday by a vote of 72-16 the Senate confirmed Judge Andre Davis to the Fourth Circuit. This shifts the balance in the Circuit.
The New York Times notes that:
Prior to the Senate vote yesterday, there were 21 appellate vacancies and 76 more for district courts. With the Supreme Court issuing fewer than 100 decisions a year, lower courts have the final say in more than 99 percent of cases.
More nominations are on the way, including one judge who briefly worked for ACORN. What's a Republican Senator to do? Defer to the President and his selection of his judicial appointments, or offer thorough and legitimate inquiry into the nominee's judicial record and philosophy? I suspect that question is beyond this blog to determine. I would point you to Curt Levey at the Committee for Justice for an interesting take on how Republican Senators should treat the confirmation process.