President Obama took on the issue of judicial nomination delays pointing out the Senate has confirmed just 62.6% of his nominees (97 of 155) so far, compared to nearly 87% for George Bush and 84% for Bill Clinton.
“A minority of Senators has systematically and irresponsibly used procedural maneuvers to block or delay confirmation votes on judicial nominees,” Obama said.
The record shows 20 of the President’s nominees are awaiting a Senate vote on confirmation and half of those are to fill vacancies that constitute judicial emergencies designated by the judiciary due to case loads.
There are currently 18 vacancies on federal appeals courts nationwide, with 11 nominees pending, according to the Federal Judicial Center.
The trial courts have 73 vacancies across the country and 43 nominees pending.
In the Western states of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, thare are 15 vacancies, with three on the appeals court itself. Among those is the vacancy created by Judge Stephen Trott of Idaho who took senior status in December 2004. He continues to hear cases on a reduced basis but a dispute between senators over whether his replacement nominee should come from California or Idaho has left the seat vacant.
There is one vacancy on the Northern California District Court created by the retirement of Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, and a second will be created when Judge Jeremy Fogel leaves for a post as director of the Federal Judicial Center in October.
Arizona has three vacancies, including one created with the shooting death of Chief Judge John M. Roll in the Tucson shootings that killed six and wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January. There are two vacancies each in the Los Angeles-based Central District and the Southern District in San Diego.
Montana, Nevada and the Eastern District of Washington each have one vacancy.