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Senate Delays Negatively Impacting our Judicial System

Ed note: The information on this graphic was updated on March 4, 2013

In his briefing today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney talked about Caitlin Halligan, who was nominated by President Obama to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Halligan, who has bipartisan support from lawyers and law enforcement, was put forward for this position in 2011.  

Mr. Carney said there will be a cloture vote on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan tomorrow, 726 days after her nomination, and strongly urged the Senate to support an up-or-down vote for this well-qualified nominee. "When Republicans filibustered her nomination in 2011, several of them hung their objections – not on her qualifications or her judicial philosophy – but on the DC Circuit workload. In essence, they didn’t object to her as a judge, just that the seat did not need to be filled. But since then, there has been an additional vacancy, leaving the court with four vacancies (36 percent vacant) – in fact, the court has never been this understaffed in history, with 188 cases pending."

Ms. Halligan is not President Obama's only judicial nominee suffering endless delays for a vote. As the infographic below highlights:

  • 78 percent of President Obama’s circuit court judges have waited more than 100 days for a vote, compared to 15 of President Bush’s nominees. 
  • This obstruction also applies to President Obama’s district court nominees. 42 percent of our district court judges have waited more than 100 days for a vote, compared to 8 of President Bush’s nominees.
  • Further, the average wait time for our judicial nominees to get a vote on the floor of the Senate – both for the circuit court and the district court – is 3-4 times as long as those of our predecessor. 

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