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Matt Vespa


June 6, 2013 - 9:03 am

President Obama is playing hardball. He vows no compromise with his judicial appointments to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and  this has some on the left, like Slate editor Emily Bazelon, excited.  After all, Obama isn’t a fighter. He’s a reformer, or at least, that’s what his platform was in 2008.  At that time, the fighter was Hillary.  Yet, is this a ‘squirrel’ moment?  Obama has a few scandals that are engulfing his presidency, and this “in your face” move with the judiciary just could be something new for the lapdog press to write about, instead of the corrupt and illegal practices of the IRS.  Additionally, the fighter label wears off when you discover that Obama’s nominees are faring better than his predecessors.  Also, the D.C. Court of Appeals is probably, as Ed Whelan noted, “one of the most underworked courts in the country.”

Concerning nominees, David Grant of the Christian Science Monitor wrote on June 4 that:

By some measures, President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees got rougher treatment than have Obama’s, according to the Congressional Research Service. The report found that 82 percent of Obama’s first-term circuit court nominees were confirmed, versus 76.9 percent of Mr. Bush’s. Both Obama and Bush had a lower percentage of nominees confirmed than Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or Bill Clinton.

Obama’s 80.5 percent approval rate for all his first-term judicial nominees to district and circuit courts is better than the approval rate for George H.W. Bush’s nominees (77.4 percent) and not far behind the rate for Mr. Clinton’s nominees (83.7 percent), according to the Congressional Research Service.

Yet, on the other hand:

Obama’s judicial nominees waited an average of 228 days between their nomination and confirmation through May of this year, according to an analysis by the American Constitutional Society. That’s about 50 percent longer than George W. Bush’s nominees waited.

So, is Obama mad that his nominees can’t get through, or that they wait longer than his predecessor?  Well, they are being confirmed.  That’s the point.  It’s what matters in the end.  Nonetheless, if the president is frustrated over the waiting period, which I’m sure college applicants can empathize with, then he’s just being ridiculous.  Furthermore – and Grant alludes to this in his piece – it’s Senate Democrats who control the legislative calendar.  Then again, the legislative torpor over these nominees shouldn’t be viewed as a life and death situation for how our judicial system works.

Ed Whelan at National Review wrote on May 29 that:

there is no neutral principle that justifies the Obama administration’s sudden rush on the D.C. Circuit. The D.C. Circuit may well be the most underworked court in the country.


If the White House were seriously interested in relieving the judicial workload, it would presumably be giving high priority to the “judicial emergencies” identified by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The three D.C. Circuit vacancies are not included among the 32 existing judicial emergencies. Further, it’s striking that of those 32 judicial emergencies, the White House has made nominations to only eight of those seats, and four of those eight nominations were made just this month. Of the remaining 24 judicial emergencies for which the White House has made no nomination, vacancies have existed for periods as long as:

3,071 days

2,706 days

1,641 days

1,590 days

1,570 days

1,238 days

1,225 days

939 days

877 days

728 days

688 days

606 days

604 days


One of the D.C. Circuit vacancies has existed for only 95 days. The oldest of the three—for the seat John Roberts vacated to become Chief Justice—is indeed quite old (2,799 days), but the fact that then-Senator Obama and his fellow Senate Democrats blocked President George W. Bush’s nomination of Peter Keisler, an outstanding candidate who won remarkable bipartisan acclaim, amply demonstrates that they perceived no urgent need to fill that seat.

Now, let’s be honest. For the Obama administration, this is an emergency.  The D.C. Court of Appeals has recently taken steps to curtail his agenda, namely, ruling on the unconstitutionality of the president’s NLRB recess appointments.  As a result, Obama needs to get these three in, stack the court, and prevent further road bumps to his initiatives.  Then again, his whole second term could be stalled with these five scandals eating away at what’s left of his political capital.

Matt Vespa is a web editor at and occasional writer for Hot Air, RedState, and Townhall Magazine.

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DOJ? Rely on Eric "The Fixer" Holder? For what?
About Eric "The Fixer" Holder!
In the 1990’s Eric Holder, as attorney and later as a judge, was known as “the fixer.” Wanted something taken care of, take it to “the fixer!” He did this for both Clinton’s and their attorney general -Janet Reno. Remember: Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Oklahoma city bombing? Holder’s expertise? Suppress any and all government information, in or out of government. His reward? Obama’s Attorney General. Holder’s successes so far? New Black Panther’s, Zimmerman, Fast & Furious, Arizona’s sheriff and it’s immigration, Benghazi, Gun Control (UN Ban on Guns Treaty),Immigration - Dream Act, IRS ,Obamacare, to name a few and these:
1)the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected Obama’s cap-and-trade plan, so the Environmental Protection Agency classified carbon dioxide, the compound that sustains vegetative life, as a pollutant so that it could regulate it under the Clean Air Act (precursor to Carbon Exchange Commissions). Major Fix It number 1, read the tyranny HAH!
2)After the Employee Free Choice Act—designed to bolster labor unions’ dwindling membership rolls—was defeated by Congress, National Labor Relations Board announced a rule that would implement “snap elections” for union representation, thus limiting employers’ abilities to make their case to workers and virtually guaranteeing a higher rate of unionization at the
expense of workplace democracy.
3)After an Internet regulation proposal failed to make it through Congress, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would regulate the Web anyway, even despite a federal court’s ruling that it had no authority to do so.
4)Although Congress consistently has barred the Department of Education from getting involved in curriculum matters, the Administration has offered waivers for the No Child Left Behind law in exchange for states adopting national education standards, all without congressional authorization.i.e., Common Core
5)Since it objects to existing federal immigration laws, the Administration has decided to apply those laws selectively and actively prevent the state (like Arizona) from enforcing those laws themselves. How's that enforcing the Border goin'? HUH? remember, there are only 5,000 ICE agents for ALL 50 states! That's 100 per state! LA Police force numbers in the 10,000 or so alone.
6)Rather than push Congress to repeal federal laws against marijuana use, the Department of Justice (DOJ) simply decided it would no longer enforce those laws. Say What???? Rule of Law??? Where???In the DOJ!!!!
7)DOJ also has announced that it would stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act or defending it from legal challenge rather than seeking legislative recourse. Obama/Holder tyranny…”the fixer!” No “Rule of
Law!” Pray. Amen. Is this still the USA??? Or some third world, tin-horn dictatorship???Join a TeaParty! Become a Patriot.

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