Federal Judicial Vacancies Increasing Due to Senate Democrats' Obstruction

Despite the unprecedented number of U.S. Court of Appeals judges confirmed in President Trump's first year in office, Democrat obstruction has lead to more judicial vacancies now than there were a year ago:

Trump came into office in January 2017 with 108 vacancieson the federal bench. Despite rapidly moving to fill the seats, he now has 178 current and known future vacancies, according to the Judicial Crisis Network.

The conservative group reports 146 current vacancies on federal courts and 32 known future vacancies, meaning judges who have announced they will retire. Of the total vacancies, 25 are appeals court judges and 153 are district or specialty court judges. . . .

The slowdown is a result of Senate Democrats’ requiring 30 hours of debate for every nominee, even those who clear the Judiciary Committee unanimously or near unanimously, Severino and others noted. 

“At this rate, it will take the president more than two terms to fill all the vacancies,” [Carrie] Severino said.

Senate Democrats are using these delay tactics solely to score political points with their liberal base and resist President Trump, as they insist on 30 hours of "debate" (i.e., empty Senate floor time) for even nominees with broad, bipartisan support.

Even the center-left Pew Research Center has confirmed that obstruction against President Trump's nominees is unprecedented:

The 23 men and six women Trump has successfully appointed so far have faced a total of 654 “no” votes on the floor of the Senate, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Judicial Center and the U.S. Senate. That works out to an average of nearly 23 votes against each confirmed judge – by far the highest average for any president’s judges since the Senate expanded to its current 100 members in 1959. 

The 330 judges Barack Obama appointed during his eight years in office faced an average of six votes against them. George W. Bush’s 328 confirmed judges faced an average of two, and Bill Clinton’s 382 judges faced an average of just over one. . . .  

Just one of President John F. Kennedy’s 134 confirmed judges drew any “no” votes in the Senate. That was Thurgood Marshall, whom the Senate confirmed to the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on a 54-16 vote in 1962. (Four senators voted “present” on Marshall’s nomination; 26 others didn’t vote at all.) All of Kennedy’s other confirmed judges were approved on a voice vote – that is, without any recorded opposition.

Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, also faced little Senate opposition to his judicial choices: All but two of his 186 confirmed judges were approved on a voice vote. 

Thanks to the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, President Trump's excellent nominees are being vetted, receiving hearings, and receiving votes.  Unfortunately due to the Democrats' unprecedented obstruction, far fewer judges are being confirmed than are needed on the federal bench.