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Judicial vacancies are going unfilled for years, advocacy group reports

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Judicial vacancies are going unfilled for years, advocacy group reports

Feb 8, 2013, 01:45 pm CDT

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Alliance for Justice is offering a new tool and a bit of a different angle to highlight the increasing problem of vacancies on the federal bench: a list of openings on district and circuit courts with pertinent dates and numbers of days for vacancies both with and without nominees.

One chart (PDF) includes color-coded information about which political party’s senators represent the jurisdictions, and several maps of the U.S. are variously colored to indicate vacancies with and without nominees and how many days they have been vacant.

Five states are experiencing delays of two years or more without sending nominees for the district bench for Senate confirmation, according to the AFJ.

But while the AFJ often points to Republican obstructionism in Congress behind delays in filling judicial vacancies, its news release announcing the new resource offers this different angle.

AFJ president Nan Aron notes two examples of what the release characterizes as "unconscionable" delays: "Because of a dispute between senators from California and Idaho, a seat on the 9th Circuit has been vacant for more than eight years. A seat on the 7th Circuit has been vacant for nearly four years."

Hat tip: The Blog of Legal Times.

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