Every President generally has a lot of housekeeping duties to fulfill during their term in office. Judiciary appointments are only one of many. Before Obama left office, he also had several dozen confirmed and more that were stalled as the last year of his presidency ended. Now it is Trump’s turn to find judges who believe in the rule of law and the constitution as written, hopefully.
Filling these judgeships are critical to meet the needs of citizens under indictment and provide relief to current judges with staggering workloads.
According to the US Courts website, as of today there are 128 vacancies open of which they consider 50 to be emergencies to get filled. Twenty-five of these emergency vacancies are California and Texas alone. Some have been pending nearly three years or more. One in Texas has been pending as much as five years.
Each year US Courts provides a statistical analysis to congress covering judicial concerns. Their 2016 report of federal caseloads is eye-opening. In 2016, pending caseloads in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit were 1,736. U.S. District Courts pending cases and defendants at 441,846 cases. Civil case filings in 2016 were 344,715. Pending Criminal filings were 97,131.
The report lists percentages of overall increases or decreases actually noting an overall decrease in caseloads; but, this is an unacceptable and extremely bogged down system for citizens who have a right to a speedy trial as found in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution.
Frankly there should be a faster, nonpartisan method provided by the Senate Judiciary Committee to review twenty openings every month so that pending positions can be sent to the president for consideration, starting with the most critical first. By doing so they have fulfilled their duties and placed the burden on the executive branch. In less than five months, many of these vacancies could be in the process of consideration without overburdening anyone in either executive branch or congress and well on their way to being filled.
We are already aware just how backlogged immigration judges are as they struggle to clear out nearly 500,000 pending cases or about 1,819 cases per judge according to the Washington Examiner on May 2, 2017. TRAC Immigration even has an online tool site listing all of the backlog of pending immigration cases. Fifty Judges were moved around in March to the border just to assist which in turn places stress on their own dockets.
At the American Bar Association annual meeting of 2017, the following statement was issued:
The president and the Senate have a constitutional responsibility to nominate and confirm judges to the Article III courts. Despite the political nature of the process, this shared duty needs to be carried out with bipartisan cooperation out of respect for the role of the judiciary in our government and our daily lives.
White House Press Release
Profile Information Listed
May 8, 2017
1) Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
2) John K. Bush of Kentucky will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
3) Joan L. Larsen of Michigan will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
4) Kevin C. Newsom of Alabama will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
5) David R. Stras will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
6) David C. Nye of Idaho will serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.
7) Scott L. Palk of Oklahoma will serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
8) Damien M. Schiff of California will serve as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
9) Dabney L. Friedrich of Washington, D.C., will serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
10) Terry F. Moorer of Alabama will serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
Ten down only 118 more to go.
It is time that all judge positions and such for every district be filled. It is incumbent upon the judiciary to offer the best and swiftest possible due diligence and consideration that each who come before benches is guaranteed by law. There is no excuse for this lag in providing quality review and sentencing deliberation except in the instance that there are no applicants available.