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Edit Memo: Senate Republicans, Exhausted From Not Doing Their Jobs, Take a 7-Week Vacation, the Longest in 60 Years (People For blog, 07/19/16)
Paul Gordon: "Last week, the GOP-controlled Senate explained why there supposedly wasn’t enough time before an extensive summer recess, the longest in 60 years, to confirm numerous long-standing consensus judicial nominees. In fact, they spent more time making excuses than it would have taken to actually confirm the nominees. The exchange revealed new depths to which Senate Republicans will sink in order to avoid doing their jobs and voting on the president’s nominees to our lower federal courts, in addition to their unprecedented refusal to even consider the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court."

Commentary: Powerful essay underscores absurdity of Burr/Tillis judicial blockade (Progressive Pulse [NC], 07/19/16)
Rob Schofield: "the essay below ... does a great job of explaining the outrageous nature of the ongoing blockade of Judge Merrick Garland and numerous other Obama judicial nominees by the GOP majority in the U.S. Senate — a blockade in which both of North Carolina’s senators — Richard Burr and Thom Tillis — continue to play a sadly prominent role."

Let’s keep our convention attacks in perspective, shall we? (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 07/19/16)
Steve Sebelius, Review-Journal political columnist: "Why don’t we start by simply holding votes on the nominations the president has already made, such as U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C., Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland, a man praised by both Republicans and Democrats as a fair-minded and well-qualified jurist. To simply ignore that nomination and refuse to hold a vote is an utter failure to live up to the oath of office for senators, yet the Republican-controlled Senate has done just that. In fact, there was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the stage Tuesday evening, boasting of his promise to not allow the president of the United States to exercise his powers to fill up vacancies on the Supreme Court, because McConnell said he had promised that honor to the next president. And the delegates cheered! This was possibly the lowest point of the convention thus far."

Like It Or Not, The Left Still Loves The Supreme Court (Above the Law, 07/19/16)
Joe Patrice: "certain populations, in particular those important to progressives, can’t quit the Supreme Court. ... Perhaps the synthesis of the two panels was put forward by Anisha Singh, noting the importance of the judiciary to progressive reforms, but warning against fixation on the Supreme Court when the judiciary as a whole is understaffed (100 vacancies as of today, with 30 courts having declared judicial emergencies), and critically important to vindicating citizen rights."

Merrick Garland Deserves a Vote—For Democracy’s Sake: Playing political football with a Supreme Court nomination erodes the rule of law and leaves major issues in limbo  (Wall Street Journal, 07/18/16)
President Obama: "Every Supreme Court nominee since 1875 who hasn’t withdrawn from the process has received a hearing or a vote. ... Chief Judge Garland isn’t controversial. ... First, a functioning judiciary—at every level—is essential to the business of the nation. For example, last month, a deadlocked Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision on several major issues, leaving the law itself in limbo. Across the country, judicial vacancies are leaving some lower courts so overwhelmed they can barely make it through their dockets. Twenty-nine judicial emergencies have been declared by lower courts across the country. This has real implications for jurisprudence, real financial costs to the judicial system and real consequences in the lives of people awaiting the outcomes of those cases. Second, treating the Supreme Court like a political football makes the American people more cynical about democracy. ... So here’s an idea. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate could agree to give Chief Judge Garland a hearing when they return from their extended recess, while also committing to give every future qualified Supreme Court nominee a hearing and a vote within an established time frame. It’s a good idea that my predecessor, President George W. Bush, suggested during his time in office."

Congress’ current ‘August recess,’ which started today, is record-longest… (Spokesman-Review [Spokane, WA], 07/18/16)
Betsy Z. Russell: "While Idaho’s two GOP senators were excited to get Idaho U.S. district judge nominee David Nye approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, that Thursday committee vote came at a time when there was virtually no chance of a full Senate vote before September, at the earliest."

Everything You Need To Know About The Republican Party’s Recalcitrance, In One Chart (Think Progress, 07/18/16)
Ian Millhiser: "Nor did the Senate perform much of its other core function — confirming presidential nominees. The Senate’s Republican majority has thus-far kept to it’s promise not to even hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. And its hardly used the time freed up by not confirming Garland to move forward on other judicial nominations. To the contrary, the Senate confirmed fewer judges since Republicans gained the majority in 2015 than in any comparable period in a two-term presidency since Harry Truman — and the drop-off from recent presidents is quite stark. Lest anyone conclude that the current Senate merely returned to a confirmation rate that was normal in our grandparents’ heyday, it is important to note that the size of the federal judiciary has grown tremendously since the Truman presidency. On the day that Truman left office, only 291 life-tenured judges were authorized by federal law. Today, that number is 860. Thus, the Senate confirmed nearly as many judges in the comparable period in the Truman administration as it has confirmed under President Obama, despite the fact that there are now more than three times as many judgeships to fill. Under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, moreover, the Senate confirmed significantly less than half of the number of judges confirmed during the comparable period in President George W. Bush’s presidency, and about a third of the judges confirmed during similar periods in the Clinton and Reagan presidencies. Notably, Reagan, Clinton and Bush all faced senates that were controlled by the opposite party during their final years in office."

Op-Ed: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has nothing to apologize for in her criticism of Donald Trump. (Los Angeles Times, 07/18/16)
Erwin Chemerinsky: "She praised President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, and said that the court’s work is hindered by the Senate’s failure to consider him. I wish more of the justices would explain that the Senate’s refusal to consider this nomination, as well as nominations for lower federal court judgeships, is seriously interfering with the functioning of the courts."

Obama Nominees Caught Between Judicial Dreams, Practice Realities (National Law Journal, 07/17/16)
Zoe Tillman: "after the summer recesses in 2000 and 2008, the Senate did confirm a small number of judges... As is true now, the Senate was controlled in those election years by a different party than the president. [Chart shows 10 for George W. Bush] ... In 2000, there were 38 federal district and circuit court nominees pending at the start of the summer recess and 62 vacancies, according to federal judiciary records. At the same juncture in 2008, there were 37 nominees pending and 41 vacant judgeships. As of July 15, there were 49 nominees for 80 vacancies. Twenty-six of those nominees have had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 20 have been sent to the full Senate for a vote. Those numbers don’t cover the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of International Trade and U.S. Court of Federal Claims—eight nominees are pending for nine vacancies on those courts. ... There are 29 vacancies that the federal judiciary considers “judicial emergencies,” due to heavy caseloads in those districts. Nominees are pending for 19 of those seats."

GOP Senator: Confirming Judges Has 'Nothing To Do With Doing Our Jobs (Talking Points Memo, 07/15/16)
CAITLIN MACNEAL: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) does not think that it's part of the Senate's job description to confirm President Obama's judicial nominees. "What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs," he said, according to the Huffington Post. "I'm doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters." In fact, only the Senate can confirm judicial nominees in order to complete the process of filling court vacancies."

Quick Takes: Republicans and the Constitution (Washington Monthly, 07/15/16)
Nancy Letourneau: "One of the deep ironies of our time is how conservatives have branded themselves as the great defenders of the U.S. Constitution and yet, almost daily, we have to wonder if they have any idea what is actually in it ... For example: 'Democrats including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) made repeated requests Wednesday to confirm a batch of Obama’s judicial nominees who are ready for votes. Each time they tried, Tillis objected and suggested the Senate shouldn’t be spending time on judges. “What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs,” he said. “I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters.”' Perhaps someone needs to read Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution to Sen. Tillis. Just sayin…"

Benched! Own Job Description Eludes Senator Tillis (Justice Watch, 07/15/16)
"But for Thom Tillis, the Republican Senator from North Carolina and member of the Judiciary Committee, the problem appears to be (for better or worse) an alarming amount of misinformation, whether it be the importance of filling judicial vacancies, how bad the vacancy crisis has become under GOP leadership, or the Senate’s basic constitutional duty to confirm judges....Tillis objected to voting on slate of uncontroversial judicial nominees because, in his words, confirming judges has “nothing to do with doing our jobs.”... Tillis added insult to injury during the Judiciary Committee’s business meeting yesterday, when he defended the GOP majority’s dismal record on judicial confirmations. Tillis first repeated the already-debunked Republican talking point that more judges have been confirmed under President Obama than under President George W. Bush at this point in their respective presidencies. ... What matters is not just the number of confirmed judges, but that Obama has confronted far more vacancies than Bush faced, and that Obama’s judges have been confirmed at a lower rate. While Obama has so far been tasked with filling 410 vacancies, Bush only faced 377 vacancies throughout his entire two terms. Tillis also argued that the number of vacancies is just not that high. That is patently false. Vacancies have increased from 43 to 83 just this Congress. Obama has roughly twice as many vacancies as George W. Bush at this same point in their respective presidencies ... Perhaps Tillis’ belief that filling judicial vacancies is not part of his job explains why the nation’s oldest vacancy is in his home state of North Carolina. Judge Malcolm Howard took senior status nearly 4,000 days ago"

Republican senator: Confirming judges has 'nothing to do with doing our jobs' (Daily Kos, 07/15/16)
Joan McCarter: "Well, thanks for clearing that up, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).... It would also come as news to the founding fathers, as [Sen.] Warren pointed out. "I'm not sure what version of the Constitution you're reading that doesn't say confirming judges is part of your job in the United States Senate," she told Tillis."

The Need for a Reflective Judiciary Demands a Return to Normal Order (Center for American Progress, 07/15/16)
Danyelle Solomon and Michele L. Jawando: "Edward Stanton III, the highly respected African American U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, has been waiting for more than a year for the U.S. Senate to vote to confirm him as a federal judge. Despite his stellar record and bipartisan support, it is looking less and less likely that the Senate will confirm him before the year is out. Unfortunately, Stanton’s story has become the norm rather than an exception....the speed of the judicial confirmation process has slowed to an all-time low. This Congress is on pace to confirm fewer federal judges to the bench than any other Congress in more than half a century. As a result, the number of vacancies has jumped from 43 to 83 since January 1, 2015, and the number of judicial emergencies has more than doubled in that same time period. This has created the largest backlog of civil cases in American history .... There are 22 nominees currently waiting for full Senate consideration. Twenty-one of those nominees were voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with unanimous support."

Will someone please direct Senator Thom Tillis to Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution? (New Republic Online, 07/15/16)
Saif Alnuweiri: "“What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs,” he said, following calls by Elizabeth Warren and Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono to approve judges awaiting confirmation. “I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters.” But Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2, of the Constitution clearly states that the responsibility of filling empty court seat lies with the Senate. And what those pressing matters are appear to be unclear. Tillis has not found the time to oversee a replacement judge in a district court in his state, one that has been vacant for over a decade."

GOP senator: Confirming judges unrelated to ‘doing our jobs (Maddow Blog {MSNBC], 07/15/16)
Steve Benen: "If there’s a compelling defense for how Senate Republicans are treating President Obama’s judicial nominees, no one has shared it yet. This goes well beyond the unprecedented mistreatment of Merrick Garland: Politico reported yesterday that this GOP-led Senate has confirmed “just 20 district and circuit court judges … a time when the vacancies are hampering the federal bench nationwide.”... note that when Democrats ran the Senate for the final two years of the Bush/Cheney era, they approved 68 federal judges, more than triple what we’re seeing now. Also note, ... there are plenty of judicial nominees championed by Republicans who are currently stuck – because GOP leaders want to shut down the confirmation process altogether out of partisan spite. But the fight took an unintentionally funny twist yesterday when Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said that when it comes to confirming judicial nominees, it’s not part of senators’ job."

GOP Senator Tillis Doesn't Think Confirming Judges Is His Job (Tidal Soundings, 07/15/16)
"I have already documented the staggering levels of obstruction by the Republican Senate to confirm judges nominated by President Obama. And one of the longest unfilled spots in the judiciary is the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This seat has remained unfilled for the last 10 and a half years and one of the Senators responsible for that district these days is none other than Republican Thom Tillis. Tillis also serves on the Judiciary Committee which has unanimously recommended 23 nominations to the full Senate.... Tillis blocked another move to vote on these judges by saying, "What we get [from Democrats] are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs. I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters." Of course, one of the responsibilities of the Senate that is clearly laid out in Article II of the Constitution is the confirmation of judges:"

Inspiring: This Man Became a U.S. Senator Without Reading the Constitution (INDY Week [NC], 07/15/16)
Paul Blest: "U.S. Senator Thom Tillis is tired of being told to do his job, which is remarkable considering he doesn't seem to have any idea of what his job entails. On Wednesday, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii tried to confirm a batch of President Obama's judicial nominees. Luckily, our esteemed Senator from North Carolina heroically stopped them. From the Huffington Post: ...'Tillis spokesman Daniel Keylin later declined to clarify to HuffPost why Tillis said it isn’t the Senate’s job to confirm judges.' ... Thom. Daniel. Here's what the Constitution says ... "

Tillis: Confirming judges has “nothing to do with doing our jobs” (Progressive Pulse [NC], 07/14/16)
Commentary by Rob Schofield: "Sometimes it is almost beyond belief that Thom Tillis serves on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. That same thought must’ve been running through the minds of a lot of his fellow senators yesterday afternoon when Tillis took to the Senate floor to block a bundle of federal court nominations who would have filled vacancies that are causing backups in the courts. Many of them passed the Judiciary Committee unanimously. Doug Clark of the Greensboro News & Record reports: “Tillis objected that the Senate shouldn’t be forced to do ‘things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs’ while action is needed on important matters like Zika, veterans, drug addiction and defense funding. Which prompted Democrat Elizabeth Warren to question what part of the Constitution says that confirming judges isn’t the Senate’s job." ... As the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights noted on Twitter, Tillis’ position is, in a word, “crazy.”... Tillis and his blockading conservative colleagues are simply not doing their jobs in 2016 when it come to their constitutional duty to advise and consent on judicial nominations (including the nomination of the eminently qualified Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court) and it’s simply an embarrassment. Unfortunately, Tillis is so uninformed with respect to his constitutional duties that he doesn’t even grasp how wildly off-base he has strayed."

Editorial: Congress on vacation: When Congress begins a seven-week recess this afternoon, it will be finishing its shortest cycle of deliberations in 60 years. (El Diario, 07/14/16)
"Hundreds of judicial candidates waited for the Senate to bother considering them. Senators haven’t approved any candidates for ... appeals courts since January 2016. Court cases are piling up because there are no judges available to hear them. Senators refused to debate the appointment of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, the court only has eight justices and rulings are often tied, forcing the judicial branch to become as paralyzed as the legislature. And now, they’re going on vacation."

GOP Senator: Confirming Obama’s Judges Has ‘Nothing To Do With Doing Our Jobs’: It is literally the Senate’s job to confirm judges. (Huffington Post, 07/14/16)
Jennifer Bendery: "Republicans have never made it easy for President Barack Obama to confirm judges. But Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) came up with a new reason the Senate shouldn’t be filling empty court seats: It’s not our job. Democrats including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) made repeated requests Wednesday to confirm a batch of Obama’s judicial nominees who are ready for votes. Each time they tried, Tillis objected and suggested the Senate shouldn’t be spending time on judges. “What we get are things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs,” he said. “I’m doing my job today and objecting to these measures so we can actually get back to pressing matters.” It’s a weird thing to say since it is literally the Senate’s job to confirm judges, as spelled out in the Constitution. It’s also ironic that Tillis is the one saying this, given that he’s overseeing the longest federal court vacancy in the country. There’s been an empty seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for 3,848 days, or 10.5 years. Democrats seemed perplexed by Tillis’ rationale. “I’m not sure what version of the Constitution you’re reading that doesn’t say confirming judges is part of your job in the United States Senate,” Warren said. “Of course confirming judges is part of the Senate’s job,” Hirono said. “In fact, only the Senate can do that.”... At least 24 judicial nominees are ready for votes. None are controversial, and all have bipartisan support. In fact, 23 of them were confirmed unanimously by the Judiciary Committee, of which Tillis is a member.... because the Senate has been moving so slowly to fill them, court vacancies have been skyrocketing. Cases are getting backed up for years and judges are burning out trying to keep up. Even some Republicans are urging their leadership to let nominees get votes."

The Republican Senate leader and regular order (The Hill, 07/14/16)
Carl Tobias: "in early January 2015, Senator McConnell promised to return regular order in the Senate. That month, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley also vowed that the panel would follow regular order when processing judicial nominees.... McConnell has drastically slowed the pace of final debates, if needed, and chamber votes. Indeed, the Senate has confirmed merely twenty nominees, averaging one per month since Republicans assumed the majority. This sharply contrasts with the 68 judges whom the Democratic Senate majority helped confirm in President George W. Bush’s last two years. The number of vacancies has doubled from forty to eighty, while the number of emergencies has soared from twelve to as high as 34 and is now 29. There are currently two circuit nominees and eighteen district nominees awaiting up or down votes. The Judiciary Committee approved all of the district nominees without dissent, and GOP home state senators recommended eleven of the eighteen nominees.... Republican leaders can begin to remedy the vacancy crisis and restore regular order by granting all nominees on the floor yes or no votes before departing for the summer recess."

Supreme Court vacancy watch Day 152 (Daily Kos, 07/14/16)
Joan McCarter: "The reason President Obama has had more judges confirmed overall than his predecessor is because there have been so many more vacancies to fill during his tenure. Right now, there are 89 vacancies in federal courts. At this point in George W. Bush's term, there were less than half as many, around 40. There might be a few pushed through under McConnell, because he has plenty of Republicans who would like to have the confirmations in their own states to tout. But as of now, McConnell's desire to thwart Obama at every turn seems to be overcoming his desire to help his own team. Consider a nomination in Utah, where "the senior […] senator said he is bending McConnell's ear, trying to secure a confirmation vote for Russell. But McConnell has been noncommittal to Hatch, simply responding: 'We'll see,' according to the senator's retelling." Helluva way to run a country."

Editorial: Congress on vacation: When Congress begins a seven-week recess this afternoon, it will be finishing its shortest cycle of deliberations in 60 years. (La Opinión, 07/14/16)
"Hundreds of judicial candidates waited for the Senate to bother considering them. Senators haven’t approved any candidates for ... appeals courts since January 2016. Court cases are piling up because there are no judges available to hear them. Senators refused to debate the appointment of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, the court only has eight justices and rulings are often tied, forcing the judicial branch to become as paralyzed as the legislature. And now, they’re going on vacation."

Another judicial candidate deserves a nomination hearing (WIZM [WI], 07/13/16)
Program Director, Scott Robert Shaw: "The delays in holding nomination hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland have been well documented. Garland was nominated to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia back in March. But the Senate refuses to even hold nomination hearings to consider his credentials, despite the fact that Garland has more federal judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in history. But that delay in holding hearings is nothing compared to the delay in holding hearings for a vacancy on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which serves Wisconsin. Donald Schott was nominated to fill the vacancy on that court back in January. There should be some sense of urgency on the part of our U.S. Senate to get this post filled. It has been vacant for more than six years, a total of 2400 days and counting. That is despite the fact that Schott's nomination is endorsed by both Wisconsn Senators, and a bipartisan group of former Wisconsin State Bar Presidents. The Senate Judiciary Committee has finally held a hearing and approved the nomination with bipartisan support. But still the Senate is refusing to schedule hearings. Schott deserves a fair shot, and the people of Wisconsin deserve a fully staffed court. Because the courts can't fully do their jobs until our Senators do theirs."

Senate has confirmed enough judges, Tillis says (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 07/13/16)
Editorial writer Doug Clark's blog: "U.S. Senate Democrats tried to push 16 judicial nominees to confirmation this afternoon but were denied by North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis. Video here. Tillis objected that the Senate shouldn't be forced to do "things that have nothing to do with doing our jobs"... Which prompted Democrat Elizabeth Warren to question what part of the Constitution says that confirming judges isn't the Senate's job. Warren was joined by fellow Democrats Chuck Schumer and Mazie Hirono in trying to break a logjam before the Senate goes into its long summer recess.... Schumer pointed out that the number of judicial vacancies is much greater than those a Democratic Senate left in the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency.... as Hirono said, the pending nominees are noncontroversial, having been approved by a voice vote in the Judiciary Committee (of which Tillis is a member). Furthermore, many were nominated before 2016."

Reproachable record: What Toomey's been up to (Bucks County Courier Times [PA], 07/12/16)
Wayne Kroger, Guest Opinion: "Last July, Toomey said that he was "delighted" that Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo's nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was finally reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This could have occurred months prior to that if Toomey hadn't refused to submit the so-called "blue slip" to move Restrepo's nomination out of the Committee – even though the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts declared a "judicial emergency" for appeals out of Pennsylvania. When asked about the delay, Toomey told a reporter "I've got to run for this lunch" and ducked into an elevator.... Toomey also supports the filibuster of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court,"

Editorial: Confirm Judge Koh to the 9th Circuit (San Francisco Chronicle [CA], 07/11/16)
"Nearly five months after President Obama nominated her to fill an emergency vacancy on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Lucy Haeran Koh is scheduled for her Senate hearing Wednesday. This is welcome news after months of partisan division over judicial appointments.... Koh was the first Asian American federal judge in the Bay Area. Koh has proved herself an accomplished, moderate, evenhanded judge who would bring necessary diversity to the Ninth Circuit. Justice is best delivered by maintaining a full court. Koh deserves Senate confirmation, and quickly."

Before SCOTUS Blockade, This GOP Senator Wanted Obama To Hurry Up And Fill Federal Vacancies: Ron Johnson said last year that presidents should fill vacancies within 210 days. (Huffington Post, 07/11/16)
Jennifer Bendery: "Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) won’t help to advance President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.... But before the Supreme Court seat opened up this year, the senator considered filling federal vacancies to be more urgent. In June 2015, when the Senate was debating the National Defense Authorization Act, Johnson offered an amendment underscoring that Obama should have to fill federal posts within 210 days of a vacancy opening up.... Obama nominated Merrick Garland in March to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13. That means, by Johnson’s metric, the Senate should be voting to fill the seat before Sept. 10.... Speaking of judges: The Wisconsin senator is also behind the longest circuit court vacancy in the country."

Grassley Bogs Down Entire Judiciary, Not Just Supreme Court (Iowa Starting Line, 07/10/16)
Pat Rynard: "For those who have been watching Senator Chuck Grassley’s tenure as the new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his Supreme Court blockade wasn’t a big surprise. It was merely the culmination of a clear trend of obstruction of President Barack Obama’s nominees to all levels of the judiciary.... this also adds to Grassley’s historic level of obstruction on all judicial appointments. Just 20 lower court nominees from President Obama have actually been confirmed by the Senate since Grassley’s chairmanship began. By mid-June in 2008, Senator Leahy and the Democratic-controlled Senate had confirmed 49. As one would expect, that’s caused a considerable amount of problems for the proper functioning of the judicial branch of government. It means heavier caseloads for the judges already in place and a delay of justice for those in a backlogged system. After Grassley took over the Judiciary Committee, the number of judicial vacancies have nearly doubled, from 43 to 83. Meanwhile, Obama’s nominees are playing the waiting game. 54 judicial nominees are on Grassley’s plate, yet over half of them haven’t even gotten a hearing or vote scheduled."