Friday, December 31, 2010

Senate Not Confirming Obama's Judicial Nominees

The Senate confirmed 19 judicial nominees in December, making a total of 62 since Mr. Obama took office, including Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. At the same point in Mr. Bush's presidency, the Senate had confirmed 100 judicial nominees...

For years, both Democrats and Republicans have labeled as extremists judicial nominees picked by the opposing party's president, and they have marshaled reams of statistics intended to demonstrate that they are more fair-minded than their political adversaries when considering judicial candidates.

During Mr. Bush's presidency, Democrats' resistance broke only when a bipartisan "Gang of 14" senators cut a deal to approve most of the blocked nominees while letting a few of the most-controversial nominees languish.

The chief justice's report cited areas where the court system's case load significantly grew in 2010: nonbusiness bankruptcies, which increased by 14% to about 1.6 million, and fraud cases, up 12% to 9,400.

The figures indicated a federal crackdown on immigration violations, with criminal cases, mostly for improper reentry by aliens, up 9% to 28,000. In contrast, federal drug cases dropped 5% to 16,000.

The report, as usual, spoke of the need for adequate funding for the court system. "Congress will face extraordinary challenges in addressing the federal deficit," Chief Justice Roberts observed. But whatever happens across the street at the Capitol, "the Supreme Court itself is doing its part," he wrote, and planned to reduce its budget request next year.

"Not many other federal government entities can say that," he wrote.

The best way to fix the confirmation process is to repeal the 17th Amendment. As it is, politicians have to demagogue and preen and turn the process into a media circus because they have to get media attention to get re-elected. Get the media out of the process by getting politics out of the process and let Senators do their job with the more-effective oversight of state legislatures who will better enforce the Constitution's limits on the federal government that voters can.

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