Obama Plans to Pick Up the Pace on Judges

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Liberals have been griping for a long time that President Obama bears some of the blame for the slow pace of judicial confirmations during his first term. Sure, Republicans in the Senate have been obstructionist, but Obama himself has nominated many fewer judges than other presidents have during their first years in office. Apparently that’s about to change:

Reelected with strong support from women, ethnic minorities and gays, Obama is moving quickly to change the face of the federal judiciary by the end of his second term, setting the stage for another series of drawn-out confrontations with Republicans in Congress.

The president has named three dozen judicial candidates since January and is expected to nominate scores more over the next few months, aides said. The push marks a significant departure from the sluggish pace of appointments throughout much of his first term, when both Republicans and some Democrats complained that Obama had not tried hard enough to fill vacancies on federal courts.

That’s good to hear. The rest of the piece is about how diverse Obama’s selections have been, along with some Republican comments about how, you know, they don’t object to diverse judges, but they are concerned about whether this is just affirmative action in disguise, so maybe we’re not getting the high quality of judges that we should be, blah blah blah. But I liked this comment from the lefty side of the aisle:

Liberal groups have been pressuring the White House to look for diversity not just in race, gender or sexual orientation, but also in professional experience. They want fewer corporate lawyers from white-shoe firms and more public defenders and lawyers from outside what is sometimes called the “judicial monastery.”

Yay! Fewer corporate attorneys, please. Fewer Ivy League grads, please. Fewer Wall Street professionals, please. There are plenty of good judges with other backgrounds.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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