Judicial vacancy crisis has many damaging effects

Published: June 18, 2012
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“Still waiting: State judge caught in Senate showdown” (Our Views, June 13) is correct. Republicans and Democrats have continued the accusations, recriminations and paybacks that have plagued judicial selection for 25 years, leaving the bench unfilled. The GOP appears poised to continue the counterproductive dynamics by stalling President Obama's well-qualified, noncontroversial appellate nominees like Robert Bacharach, who had strong Judiciary Committee approval. This means that the courts now have 75 vacancies, nearly 9 percent of the authorized judgeships, while openings have remained near or above that number for nearly three years.

The protracted judicial vacancy crisis has many damaging effects. It requires nominees to place their lives and careers on hold, dissuades superb prospects from even considering bench service, denies courts judicial resources they desperately need and imposes additional pressure on currently sitting judges, litigants and attorneys. Thus, Obama and the Senate must redouble their efforts to fill the vacancies as soon as possible. The confirmation wars must end for the good of the nation.

Carl Tobias, Richmond, Va.

Tobias is a professor of law at the University of Richmond.