According to a report in The New York Times, the vacancies on the federal courts of the country have reached an incredibly high level. This has created a shortage of judges that undermines the court system in the country.
There are 856 federal district and circuit court seats in the country. Right now, there are 85 of them vacant, which accounts for a vacancy rate of 10 percent. This rate is close to double that of the rate during the presidency of George W. Bush. One-third of the vacancies were declared “judicial emergencies” because of court workloads and how long the seats have been vacant.
According to data from the Senate Judiciary Committee, nominees from President Barack Obama for seats on federal courts of appeal have waited an average of 148 days for the confirmation vote following the approval of the committee. This wait time is four times longer than the wait time for the nominees made by President Bush.
The Obama nominees to federal district courts have had to wait an average of 102 days. The same nominees made by Bush had to wait an average of 35 days.
Some experts believe that Obama could help decrease the problem by offering nominations for vacant seats much quicker. Right now, there are 62 circuit and district court vacancies that have no nominees.