Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, likes to tout his progress in considering and confirming judicial nominees. But the numbers tell a different story.
In the past 25 years, 17 circuit court nominees, on average, have been confirmed during the final Congress of a presidency. Fifteen of President Clinton’s nominees were confirmed during his final two years; just five of President Bush’s nominees have been confirmed this year.
Four of Bush's district court nominees — Thomas Farr, James Hall, Richard Honaker and Gustavas Puryear — have been waiting an average of 262 days for hearings. Four circuit court nominees also have been waiting for months: Peter Keisler, Catharina Haynes, Robert Conrad and Steve Matthews.
Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said Leahy likes to bury conservative nominees.
“The recent extended fight over Leslie Southwick's nomination to the 5th Circuit — which took 10 months — stands out as a classic case of Leahy obstructionism," he said. “Despite his public boasting, Leahy ignores the almost complete standstill this year on the critically important court of appeals nominees.
"He routinely employs a ‘get even’ mentality to ensure that President Bush confirms far fewer federal judges in his eight years than Clinton did in his.”
Since the summer recess, the Judiciary Committee has had only one hearing on one circuit court nomination.
Ask Sen. Leahy to consider President Bush's four circuit court nominees — Peter Keisler, Catharina Haynes, Robert Conrad and Steve Matthews — who have been waiting for months. You can find contact information in the Citizen Link Action Center.