Biden Administration Seeks to Avoid Obama Administration Missteps on Judicial Nominations
The Obama Administration was notoriously slow to make judicial nominations. Even where there was no need to consult with home-state Senators (as with D.C. vacancies), the White House put forward nominees at a tepid pace, resulting in fewer and slower confirmations than one might have expected. The nomination pipeline was rarely full, so it was easier for Senate Republicans to slow things down, particularly once Mitch McConnell became Senate Majority Leader.
It is unclear whether President Biden’s nominees will face a democratic or a Republican Senate, but there are early signs the Biden Administration wants to hit the ground running when it comes to judicial nominations, so as to begin to undo the Trump Administration imprint on the federal judiciary.
The Huffington Post reports that incoming White House counsel Dana Remus has sent a letter to Democratic Senators requesting that they submit names of potential nominees for existing district court vacancies “as soon as possible” and no later than January 19. In other words, the Biden Administration wants to be able to start reviewing potential nominees on day one.
As of today (12/30) there are a total of 49 current judicial vacancies and five announced future vacancies. In all likelihood, these numbers will increase in January as additional judges announce plans to retire or take senior status. It is also likely that some judges will announce retirements upon the confirmation of their successors, so as to prevent extended vacancies on their courts. It is also possible there may
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